Gunshots and explosions were heard on Friday after members of a jihadist organization took over a hotel in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.
Al-Shabaab, a terrorist group linked to Al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack. For about 15 years, the organization has waged a bloody insurgency against Somalia’s tenuous central government.
A group of al-Shabaab gunmen allegedly broke into the Hayat Hotel in Mogadishu and are now firing randomly into the building, according to a statement posted on a pro-Shabaab website.
Abdukadir Hassan, a security officer, told AFP that the attack on the Hayat hotel resulted in a shootout between security personnel and Islamist terrorists who are still entrenched in the structure.
A huge explosion occurred just before the shooters entered the hotel, according to Hassan.
Security forces are currently engaged with the adversary who is entrenched inside the structure, he continued, adding that “we don’t have the details at the moment but there are casualties”.
Three people were injured in the attack, according to paramedics, but two other people were injured, according to witnesses at the KM4 crossing.
Nine people were injured, according to a Reuters report that quoted Abdikadir Abdirahman, director and founder of Aamin Ambulance Services in Mogadishu.
According to Somali police spokesman Abdifatah Adan Hassan, a suicide bomber who attacked the hotel alongside numerous other gunmen caused the initial explosion.
According to him, the police “are currently engaging the attackers, and they will be neutralized very soon”.
Witnesses say that after the initial explosion there was a second device outside the hotel which injured first responders, security guards and bystanders who had rushed to the scene.