Africa

Somalia: Deadly al-Shabab attack on Mogadishu hotel

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Media captionMilitants from the Islamist group al-Shabab are thought to have used a car bomb to blast their way into the hotel

An attack by the Islamist group al-Shabab in a hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu has left at least 14 dead, police say.

Security forces retook the Naso-Hablod hotel after gunmen stormed it and took hostages, officials said.

Those killed are reported to include security guards, civilians and some of the attackers.

Al-Shabab militants frequently carry out attacks in the city in their bid to topple the Western-backed government.

A suicide bomber first detonated a car with explosives at the gate of the hotel, and the attackers moved in, officials said.

Once inside, the gunmen shot randomly at guests, a witness said.

"They were shooting at everyone they could see. I escaped through the back door," Ali Mohamud told the Associated Press news agency.

A gun battle then erupted between the attackers and security forces.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Hotel is popular with politicians and visitors
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Gunfire erupted between Somali forces and the attackers

Police said at least four men were involved in the assault.

The victims included women working outside the hotel, Capt Mohamed Hussein said. It was not immediately clear if guests had also been killed.

The Naso-Hablod hotel, in southern Mogadishu, is often used by politicians and tourists.

The group said it targeted a place "frequented by the apostate government members", Reuters news agency reported.

Earlier this month at least 10 people were killed and 50 injured in an attack on another hotel in the Somali capital, which was claimed by al-Shabab.

The al-Qaeda-linked group was driven from Mogadishu in 2011 but still remains a threat and frequently carries out attacks in the city.

The government, with the help of African Union forces, is fighting al-Shabab militants in several parts of the country.

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