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International

12-hour terror attack at Somalia hotel over, 25 dead

13:40, Sunday, 29 October, 2017
12-hour terror attack at Somalia hotel over, 25 dead

An Islamist attack on a hotel in the Somali capital ended on Sunday (Oct 29) after 25 people had been killed in a near 12-hour siege, police said, underlining the insurgents’ ability to carry out deadly attacks in the heart of the city.

“The death toll rises to 25 people including police, hotel guards and residents. The death toll may rise. We suspect some other militants disguised themselves and escaped with the residents who were rescued,” police officer Major Mohamed Hussein told Reuters.

“Three militants were captured alive and two others blew up themselves after they were shot,” he added.Th attack began around at 5pm on Saturday when a suicide car bomb was rammed into a hotel, Nasahablod Two, about 600m from the presidential palace, and then armed militants stormed the building, police said.

A few minutes later, a car bomb exploded near the former Parliament house nearby.

Ali Nur, a police officer, said during the firefight, "The exchange of gunfire is hellish."

The police personnel who died had been stationed close to hotel’s gate. The dead also included a former lawmaker, he said.A Reuters witness saw seven bodies lying inside the hotel.

The explosion destroyed the front of the three-storey hotel and a next door hotel was also damaged. Many Somali officials live in fortified hotels because they offer better security from attack.

Islamist group al Shabaab claimed the attack on Saturday. They want to overthrow the weak, UN-backed government and impose a strict form of Islamic law.

Bombs in Mogadishu two weeks ago killed at least 358 people, the worst such attacks in the country’s history, igniting nationwide outrage.

Another 56 people are still missing, believed to have been burnt without a trace. Al=Shabaab was widely suspected, but has not claimed responsibility after thousands of Somalis poured onto the streets to protest.

Al Shabaab’s attacks are growing in frequency and size, as a 22,000-strong African Union peacekeeping force prepares to begin withdrawing.

In 2016, 723 people died in 395 bomb attacks in Somalia, according to a report produced earlier this year by Nairobi-based think tank Sahan Research.

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