A hotel in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, has been taken over by unknown gunmen following two vehicle bombings and shooting, police and intelligence personnel reported on Friday.
“Hotel Hayat was attacked by two vehicle bombs. Both crashed through the hotel’s gate and a nearby barrier. All indications point to the hotel being where the fighting is happening “police officer Ahmed, who only wanted to be identified by his first name, told shauntv
Two intelligence officers, who requested anonymity, corroborated the event as well.
As translated by the SITE Intelligence Organization, which keeps tabs on Jihadist group pronouncements, the al Shabaab group, which has ties to al Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
More than ten years have passed since Al Shabaab began its campaign to overthrow the government of Somalia. Its goal is to replace existing government with one based on its own rigid interpretation of Islamic law.
Although explosions could still be heard coming from the area of the hotel, no immediate information on victims was available.
The Hayat Hotel is frequently frequented by members of Congress and other public servants.
State-run Somali National News Agency tweeted, quoting a police spokesperson, that cops were initiating an operation to thwart the attack.
The agency published a photo showing thick plumes of smoke rising above the disaster zone.
The attack on Friday is the first serious incident since May, when President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud assumed office.
Al Shabaab has previously taken credit for strikes of this nature. At least 16 people were killed in an attack on a different hotel in Mogadishu in August 2020, and the group claimed responsibility for the attack.