Jihadists launch deadly hotel assault — Analysis
Police and witnesses have reported that several people were killed following an attack at a Somali hotel. The rebel militia group set off explosions in front of the building before it was stormed by gunmen. At the time of writing, there was a continuing gun battle between security forces and rebel militia groups.
On Friday, the assault on Mogadishu’s Hayat hotel was started. It was quickly retaken by al-Shabaab. The Somalia-based al-Qaeda-linked jihadist organization Al-Shabaab soon took control. Armed fighters blew their way inside the building and then fled into the interior, where they have been engaged in a gunfight with police.
“A huge blast went off a few minutes before the gunmen forced their way into the hotel,”Abdukadir Hassan, a security officer told AFP that he added that “the security forces are now engaging with the enemy who are holed up inside the building.”
Many details of the attack are still unclear. However, the Associated Press reported that eyewitnesses and the police said that at most 10 civilians died in the attack. The government has not yet identified any victims.
Officials from Somalia citedMohamed Abdikadir (AFP) noted that officers had reported the incidents to police. “rescued dozens of civilians including children who were trapped in the building.” It is so far unclear how many people were inside the hotel at the time of the attack, and how many remain inside.
Early Saturday morning shots could be heard in the area. Security forces said they were trying to stop the gunmen who remain, but the exact number is not known.
Al-Shabaab was formed in 2006 after years of civil war in Somalia. It has become more radicalized over time and pledged allegiance in 2012 to the notorious al-Qaeda terrorist group. The United States has repeatedly targeted the group with airstrikes, and has cited the faction as a major reason for America’s on-off troop presence in the country.
While former President Donald Trump ordered US soldiers to abandon Somalia in the past, he didn’t completely stop operations. There were still troops there. “commute”to be used by the country in missions. Recently, President Joe Biden reversed his decision and redeployed hundreds of soldiers. However, the Pentagon declared that the country has a need for additional troops. “persistent US military presence in Somalia to enable a more effective fight against al-Shabaab.” US forces have also maintained air operations, claiming to have killed 17 Shabaab militants through multiple strikes in this month.
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