MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Al-Shabab gunmen forced their way into a hotel in the Somali capital on Friday night, exchanging fire with hotel guards and leaving 14 dead before government security forces ended the attack, a police official said. Five militants and at least nine civilians were reported killed.
A suicide bomber rammed his car into the SYL hotel’s entrance in Mogadishu and blew it up, allowing gunmen to materialize and fight their way past hotel guards at the first security barrier, said Capt. Mohamed Hussein. Four gunmen and the suicide bomber were killed, he said, adding that the attackers did not get past the last security checkpoint.
In addition, at least nine dead bodies of civilians could be seen outside the hotel, Hussein said.
The Islamic extremist group Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack.
The SYL hotel, which is located across from presidential palace in Mogadishu, is frequented by government officials and business executives.
Despite being pushed out of Somalia’s major cities and towns, al-Shabab continues to launch deadly guerrilla attacks across the Horn of Africa, and even across the border. Al-Shabab has carried out attacks on three of the five countries contributing troops to the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia.
The al-Qaida-linked group has carried out many deadly attacks inside Kenya as well, including one in 2013 on the Westgate Mall in the capital of Nairobi in which 67 people were killed.
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