Deadly car bomb attacks hit Mogadishu hotels

Al-Shabab claims coordinated attack on two hotels in central district of Somalia’s capital, spokesman tells Al Jazeera.

Car bombings have struck two hotels in the Somali capital Mogadishu before gunmen entered one of the hotels and started shooting, sources told Al Jazeera.

At least five people were killed at Hotel Weheliye in central Mogadishu on Friday, the sources said. 

Three gunmen wearing government army uniforms entered the building as guests inside were breaking their fast, observed by Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan.

The gunmen were believed to be holed up inside the hotel, which is owned by Somali MP Isse Weheliye, the sources said. The second hotel that was attacked is located in the same central district.

The country’s National Intelligence and Security Agency said on Twitter that both attacks were brought to an end. 

At least 15 people were said to have been wounded in the attacks. 

A spokesman of armed group al-Shabab told Al Jazeera that the group’s fighters were behind the attacks.

It was not immediately clear whether there were victims at the Siyad Hotel.

In February, at least 25 people were killed, including two members of parliament, and 40 injured in an attack by al-Shabab fighters on the luxury Central Hotel in Mogadishu.

The hotel, also in the heart of Mogadishu, was hit by two car bomb explosions, followed by heavy gunfire after attackers stormed into the building.

Despite major setbacks in 2014, al-Shabab continues to wage a deadly campaign against Somalia’s government and other targets in the East African region.

The group has carried out many attacks in Somalia and in neighbouring countries, including Kenya, whose armies are part of the African Union peacekeeping mission known as AMISOM.

Al-Shabab controlled much of Mogadishu during the years 2007 to 2011, but was pushed out of Somalia’s capital and other major cities by the AU forces.

The National Intelligence and Security Agency said al-Shabab gunmen were killed at the Weheliye Hotel in Moghdishu [Mustaf Abdi/Al Jazeera]
Source: Al Jazeera


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