Gunmen storm hotel in Mogadishu; 15 killed, police say

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Fire is seen at the scene of a car bomb attack claimed by Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shabaab militants which killed at least 5 people, on the Naasa Hablood hotel in Mogadishu on June 25, 2016. The hotel in southern Mogadishu is often used by politicians and members of the Somali diaspora visiting the city. The attack came just three weeks after another assault quickly claimed by the Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab group on the city's Ambassador hotel left 10 dead including two lawmakers when a huge car bomb ripped the front off the six-storey building. / AFP / MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB (MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AFP/Getty Images)
Fire is seen at the scene of a car bomb attack claimed by Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shabaab militants which killed at least 5 people, on the Naasa Hablod hotel in Mogadishu on June 25, 2016.
(MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB (MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AFP/Getty Images)

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Gunmen stormed a hotel in the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Saturday after detonating a car filled with explosives at the hotel gate — an attack that has left at least 15 people dead and 25 others injured, police said.

Police responded to the Naso Hablod hotel, and fighting was happening inside the building on Saturday evening, hours after the attack, Somali police Capt. Aden Dahir said.

The Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack on its main broadcaster, Radio Andalus.

A car exploded at the hotel’s gate, and someone blew himself up inside the hotel shortly afterward, Dahir said. Gunmen then stormed the hotel, Dahir said.

Most of those killed and injured were civilians who were passersby and customers of nearby shops and a gas station, police said.

The hotel is frequented by Somali government officials, lawmakers and security officers, Dahir said.

Video on Twitter showed an ambulance, sirens blaring, speeding away from scene amid the sound of gunfire.

The attack comes three weeks after suspected Al-Shabaab gunmen set off an explosion and stormed another popular Mogadishu hotel, killing at least 13 people, according to security officials. Three attackers were also killed.

The June 1 siege occurred at the Ambassador Hotel, a popular spot for Somali politicians and Westerners.

Two members of parliament, Mohamed Mohamud Gurre and Abdullahi Jama, were among those killed at the Ambassador, the Somali National News Agency reported at the time. The siege ended early the next day.

Al-Shababb has used the tactic before in several assaults, including an attack at the Sahafi Hotel in the capital last year that left 15 people dead.

The militants want to turn Somalia into a fundamentalist Islamic state.

The group has been blamed for attacks in Somalia that have killed international aid workers, journalists, civilian leaders and African Union peacekeepers.

 

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