Mogadishu, June 10 (EFE).– At least nine people, including six civilians, were killed when militants from the Islamist insurgent group, al-Shabaab, attacked a popular beachside hotel in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, state media said on Saturday.
The Somali National News Agency (SONNA) reported that three soldiers were among the dead during the siege of the Pearl Beach Hotel on Friday night.
Police said the siege ended after security forces shot and killed all seven militants who had raided the hotel.
Before engaging in a fierce gun battle with the attackers, security forces evacuated 84 civilians, including children and women.
Explosions followed by gunfire shook the hotel, frequented by government officials, politicians, and parliamentarians.
The hotel is located on Lido Beach, a heavily fortified area of the Somali capital down the street that houses the embassies of Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
The militant group, affiliated with the global network of al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Somalia-based group is known for carrying out attacks on hotels and other high-profile locations in the capital, usually beginning with a suicide bombing followed by gunfire.
The attack caused significant damage to the hotel.
On Saturday morning, dozens of concerned citizens gathered to inquire about the fate of their family members and friends, holed up inside the complex.
Several ambulances remained stationed near the building overnight, prepared to assist potential victims.
This is not the first time a hotel in Mogadishu has been targeted in a militant attack since President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud assumed power in May 2022.
On Aug.19, 2022, al Shabaab assaulted the Hayat hotel in the capital in an attack that lasted about 30 hours, claimed at least 21 lives, and left more than 100 wounded.
In that month, Mohamud declared a “total war” against the militant group, which the Somali Army combats alongside the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in military operations occasionally supported by the United States.
The al-Qaeda affiliate aims to expel all foreign forces from Somalia and establish a strict Islamic state.
Since the toppling of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, Somalia has been in a state of war, lacking an effective government and leaving the country vulnerable to Islamic militants, warlords, and criminal groups.
The group currently controls rural areas of central and southern Somalia and also carries out attacks in neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia. EFE