Al-Shabab: Somali forces announce end of 30-hour hostage-taking in Mogadishu hotel

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 Al-Shabab: Somali forces announce end of 30-hour hostage-taking in Mogadishu hotel

Al-Shabab Somali forces announce end of 30-hour hostage-taking in Mogadishu hotel

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Somali forces say they have defeated militants who attacked a hotel in the capital, Mogadishu, after a bloody siege.

At least 12 people were killed in the 30-hour break-in and hostage-taking, although local media reports said the death toll could be higher.

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The attackers used explosives to attack the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Mogadishu on Friday before seizing the hotel's guests and holding them hostage.

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The extremist Islamist group Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack.

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An official told AFP that the security forces ended the siege and killed the gunman after they had not fired at us from the building for the past hour.

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The hotel was largely destroyed following heavy shelling by security forces throughout Friday and Saturday nights, with video recording showing explosions and smoke rising from the rooftop.

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The BBC was unable to confirm whether the attack had ended or not.

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A police officer told Reuters that two car bombs were used to reach the hotel on Friday night and targeted the front barrier and the gate.

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After the initial attack, an al-Shabab website said a group of gunmen carried out indiscriminate shooting after breaking into a hotel known to hold meetings with federal government employees.

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"So far we have confirmed that 12 people have been killed, most of them civilians," Mohammed, an intelligence official who spoke only by name, told Reuters on Saturday.

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The security forces faced difficulties inside the hotel for hours, as armed men who had taken an unknown number of hostages blew up the stairs leading to the place where they were holding the hostages.

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  • The head of Mogadishu's main hospital, which was treating at least 40 people wounded in the attack on the hotel and separate mortar shelling in another part of the capital, told AFP.
  • Al-Shabab, which has close ties to al-Qaeda, has been involved in a long-running conflict with the federal government.
  • The organization controls a large part of southern and central Somalia, but it has also managed to expand its influence in government-controlled areas of Mogadishu.
  • The group's fighters have also attacked targets along the Somali-Ethiopian border in recent weeks, raising concerns about a possible new strategy for al-Shabab.
  • Friday's attack was the first of its kind in the capital since the election of new Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in May.