At least 12 people have been killed after al Shabaab rebels attacked Hayat Hotel in Mogadishu with two car bombs, then storming the hotel and seizing control, according to an intelligence officer on Saturday.
The attack happened late Friday, he told Reuters newswire, adding that most were civilians.
Somali special forces are still fighting to end a night-long siege of Hayat hotel in Mogadishu. Over 10 people were killed in the attack claimed by Al Shabab group. Reliable sources say at least one gunman is believed to be holed up at the top floor of the four-storey building. pic.twitter.com/tRT3jdHYSG— Mohamed Abdikani (@Mo_Abdikani) August 20, 2022
“The operation is about to be concluded but it is still going on,” said Mohammed, who only gave one name.
Witnesses said that large portions of the hotel were destroyed by the fighting, and explosions rocked the neighbourhood as government troops tried to take back the hotel from the militants.
Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist group public communication.
The al-Qaeda-linked rebel group has been actively trying to overthrow the Somali government for more than 10 years so it can rule based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law.
Government officials are known to stay at the Hayat Hotel but there was no immediate information if any of them had been killed or injured.