Mogadishu, Nov 1 (IANS) At least 12 people were killed on Sunday as Al-Shabaab militants stormed a hotel in Mogadishu, capital of Somalia, police and witnesses said.
Police officer Mohamed Hassan told Xinhua that a car bomb hit the gate of the Sahafi hotel and then several gunmen stormed in.
“They entered the hotel exchanging heavy gunfire with the security but Somali security forces managed to end the attack. The situation now is under our control,” he said.
Another police officer said a few politicians and MPs were in the hotel when the attack took place.
“We heard that former army chief of staff Abdikarim Dhega-badan and the owner of the hotel, Abdirashid Ilkayte, are also among the dead,” he said.
Another car bomb exploded near the hotel minutes after the first attack, killing a number of civilians
“After the first attack, we were busy in dealing with the situation. But another blast occurred, killing civilians, including a journalist, while another was wounded,” an officer added.
Witnesses said they heard a huge explosion at Sahafi hotel early on Sunday.
“People were going to work when heavy explosion followed by heavy gunfire occurred at the hotel and heard several blats inside the hotel,” Mogadishu resident Muse Sheikh told Xinhua.
Politicians, MPs and senior government officials often visit the famous hotel.
Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack.