Jihadists stormed the popular Hayat hotel on Friday night in an exchange of gunfire with security forces, punctuated by explosions.
Security forces continued to neutralize the terrorists, who were surrounded in a room in the hotel building. Most people were rescued […]but the total number of civilians killed by the terrorists amounts to 13said a security force official, Mohamed Abdikadir.
The attackers were still entrenched in the hotel early Saturday. Sporadic gunfire and loud explosions were heard in the area.
Security forces rescued dozens of civilians, including children, who were trapped inside the building, added Mr. Abdikadir. Somali police spokesman Abdifatah Adan Hassan told reporters that the blast was caused by a suicide bomber.
Witnesses said a second explosion took place a few minutes after the first, causing casualties among rescuers, members of the security forces and civilians who rushed to the hotel after the first explosion.
The Shabab intensify their attacks
An Islamist group linked to Al-Qaeda, the Shabab, which has been engaged in an insurgency against the Somali federal government for 15 years, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
A group of Shabab assailants forced their way into Hayat hotel in Mogadishu, fighters fire randomly inside the hotelthe group confirmed in a brief statement on a pro-Shabab website.
Shabab spokesman Abdiaziz Abu-Musab told their station, Radio Andalus, on Saturday that the group still controlled the building and had
inflicted heavy losses to the security forces.
It is the largest attack in Mogadishu since the election of Somalia’s new president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, in May.
A rain of shells also fell on Saturday in another district of the capital, Hamar Jajab, located by the sea. Twenty people were injured, including children, said district commissioner Mucawiye Muddey.
Among those seriously injured are a young bride and her husband and a family whole, the two parents and their three children, he said. The attack has not yet been claimed.
The Shabab were driven out of the country’s main cities, including Mogadishu in 2011, but they remain present in large rural areas. In recent months, they have intensified their attacks.
American military presence
In May, US President Joe Biden decided to re-establish a military presence in Somalia to fight the Shabab there, approving a request from the Pentagon which deemed the rotation system decided by Donald Trump at the end of his term too risky and ineffective. mandate. The United States has carried out several airstrikes on militants in recent weeks.
On Wednesday, the American army announced that it had killed in an airstrike 13 Shabab militiamen who were attacking soldiers of the Somali regular forces in a remote area of this country in the Horn of Africa.
The strike was carried out on Sunday near Teedaan, about 300 km north of Mogadishu, according to a statement from the US military command in Africa.
In recent weeks, the Shabab have also carried out attacks on the Somalia-Ethiopia border, raising concerns about stability in this border region.
Somalia’s new president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, said last month that a military approach is insufficient to end the violent Shabab insurgency, stressing that his government will only negotiate with the jihadist group when the time is deemed appropriate. .
In early August, Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre announced the appointment of a former leader of the radical Islamists Shabab, turned politician, as Minister of Religious Affairs in the Somali government.
Muktar Robow, alias Abu Mansour, publicly defected in August 2017 from the movement he helped found.