Deadly hotel siege in Somalia lifted – official
According to a commander local, the militants from Hayat, Mogadishu have been eliminated. At least 13 civilians had been reported as being in danger of death.
Somali security forces have lifted a siege of a hotel in the nation’s capital by jihadists that lasted around 30 hours, a local commander told AFP on Saturday night.
Somalian officials quoted as saying that at least 13 civilians died and many more were hurt when militants linked to Al-Shabaab, an affiliated group of Al-Qaeda, attacked the Hayat Hotel in Mogadishu.
“The security forces have ended the siege now and the gunmen are dead, we’ve had no incoming gunfire from the building in the past hour,” an unnamed Somali commander told AFP.
Local officials were unable to provide details about the deaths of civilians and members of security forces during the siege. It is not known what the death toll was among the terrorists. According to AFP’s sources, the building still needs to be cleared of any explosives that may have been planted by the militants.
The Somali National News Agency stated earlier that 95% of the hotel was secured by law enforcement officers. They also released photos of the damaged building. According to AFP security forces attacked the terrorists with heavy weaponry.
Abdifatah Abdan Hassan, a police spokesperson said that the explosion in the building was probably caused by a suicide attacker who launched the attack along with at most three other gunmen. Witnesses claim that a second blast occurred just minutes later at the hotel, inflicting injuries among the victims.
The hotel attack was the first major assault in the Somali capital carried out by the extremist group since the nation’s new president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, was elected in May.
Al-Shabaab, although they were driven from Mogadishu by the African Union Mission in 2011, a peacekeeping force operating with UN Security Council approval, still controls large areas of rural land.