At least 30 killed in Somalia hotel siege

Somalia hotel siege

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – At least 30 people were killed and dozens more wounded after Al-Qaeda-aligned Al-Shabaab militants seized a hotel popular with government officials in a siege on Friday that continues for more than 24 hours.

Among those killed were former officials, state employees and traditional leaders. The head of the Somali Intelligence and Security Agency for Mogadishu and a senior police official were wounded after car bomb hit cony racing with reinforcements.

The crack of gunfire was still heard inside the hotel compound on Saturday evening as three members of the insurgent group battled security forces. Troops used explosive devices that have demolished many parts of the upscale hotel and turned the once glitzy complex into an apocalyptic warzone.

Al-Shabaab’s military spokesman Abu Musab initially said on Friday night that more than 20 people, including officials were killed in the assault, the first of its kind to hit the capital since Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was re-elected to presidency in May.

Weeks after his election, Somali President vowed that he would crush Al-Shabaab and that his administration would launch an all-out militaristic, economic and ideological offensive against the group that has been fighting to topple the Western-backed government in Mogadishu for the last 15 years.

There were unconfirmed reports that drones bombed parts of the hotel late on Friday night to help end the siege, the longest Somali capital has experienced in recent memory.

Somali government and security officials have yet to speak about the attack. US-trained special forces, who have been battling the assailants, have been pulled back from the complex after failing to end the attack. Turkish-trained troops have been redeployed to the compound.

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