Conflicts & War

Gunfire rages after al-Shabab militants storm hotel in Mogadishu

Mogadishu, Nov 28 (EFE).- Gunshots rang out at a luxurious hotel in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Monday, hours after a group of suspected al-Shabab militants stormed the landmark complex near the presidential palace, police said.

The Villa Rose Hotel, used by many government officials and parliamentarians for residential purposes, came under the attack on Sunday evening, with the al Qaeda-linked militant group claiming it.

Officials said an unknown number of militants used guns and explosives to storm the heavily-guarded Villa Rose hotel in the capital’s center.

Police spokesperson Sadik Dodishe told the Somali National News Agency (SONNA) that dozens of people, including officials and civilians, were rescued.

Somali Deputy Environment Minister Adam Aw Hirs confirmed that he survived the attack on his Twitter account.

“I am face from a terrorist explosion targeted at my residence,” Hirs said.

He said the attack where he and other government officials reside “is by no means a manifestation of emboldened terrorists.”

“To the contrary, the desperate move shows that the terror kingpins running for dear life are throwing their last kicks. We’ll not let up the war.”

Local media reported that Internal Security Minister Mohamed Ahmed Doodishe was injured in the attack. However, the claim could not be verified independently.

It is unknown if the attack caused any death and how many people were inside the hotel.

The attack occurred after Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre, who completed 100 days in office, reported that more than 600 al-Shabab members had died in military operations since August.

Barre noted that some 1,200 militants were injured in the military operations using drones from international allies like the United States.

The attack on the hotel came after the al Shabab militant group claimed responsibility for two car bombings on Oct.29 at the education ministry Mogadishu that killed at least 120 people and injured more than 269.

The attack was the deadliest in years.

Nearly 600 people died on Oct.14, 2017, when two truck bombs exploded in the same area. No group claimed responsibility for the carnage even as the authorities blamed al-Shabab fighters.

The country in the horn of Africa has seen an escalation in violence in the backdrop of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud declaring a “total war” against al-Shabab in August.

The vow came after the group staged a deadly hotel siege in Mogadishu that killed 21 people and wounded more than 100 others.

The militant group has often claimed responsibility for the attacks in the capital.

The al-Qaeda affiliate aims to expel all foreign forces from Somalia and establish a strict Islamic state.

Somalia has been in a state of war since the 1991 toppling of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, leaving the country without an effective government and vulnerable to Islamic militants, warlords, and criminal groups.

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