Six civilians were killed and 10 wounded in a six-hour siege by Al-Shabaab terror group at a beachside hotel in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, police said.
According to international media reports, “six civilians were martyred in the attack and 10 others were wounded. Three brave members of the security forces were martyred during the rescue operation,” the Somali Police Force said in a statement on Saturday.
The Al Qaeda-linked terrorists have been waging an insurgency against the internationally backed federal government for more than 15 years and have often targeted hotels, which tend to host high-ranking Somali and foreign officials.
The assault, for which Al Shabab claimed responsibility, began just before 8 pm on Friday (1700 GMT) when seven attackers stormed the Pearl Beach hotel, a popular spot at Lido Beach along Mogadishu’s coastline.
It ended at around 2 am, police said, after a fierce gunfight between security forces and the militants, all of whom were killed during the battle.
“The security forces managed to rescue 84 people including women and children and elderly people,” the police statement added.
Witnesses reported hearing gunfire and explosions at the hotel on Lido beach.
“I was near the Pearl Beach restaurant when (a) heavy explosion occurred in front of the building,” one witness, Abdirahim Ali, told newsmen.
Yaasin Nur was at the restaurant and told reporters it was “full of people as it was recently renovated”.
“I’m worried because there are several of my colleagues who went there and two of them are not responding to their phones,” he said.
Last year, Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud launched an “all-out war” against Al Shabab, rallying Somalis to help flush out members of the jihadist group he described as “bedbugs”.
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