Hundreds Feared Dead in Somali Hotel Attack

Hundreds Feared Dead in Somali Hotel Attack

A number of people have been killed after a car bomb exploded and gunmen opened fire at a hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu, BBC reports.

The attack took place at the Dayah hotel, where some members of parliament were thought to be staying, police said on Wednesday.

Detailed casualty figures remain unclear but emergency services said dozens of people died in the attack.

The Islamist militant group al-Shabab has said it carried out the attack.

The Reuters news agency quoted a police officer, Major Mohamed Ahmed, as saying: “At least 13 people, including forces and civilians, died in two blasts at the hotel. A dozen others were injured.

He added that the death toll could rise.

Eyewitnesses said the attackers used a vehicle laden with explosives to blast their way into the hotel and once inside they started shooting.

Shortly after the first blast another vehicle exploded, killing and wounding more people who had gathered around.

Police officer Colonel Abdiqadir Hussein told Reuters security forces later managed to secure the building.

“We have rescued the people and concluded the operation at Dayah hotel,” he said.

“The security forces are now inside the hotel and we shall give further details of casualty later.”

The hotel is located less than a mile away from Somalia’s presidential palace and is popular with dignitaries, including MPs.

The attack comes at a time when the country is preparing for indirect elections where MPs are set to choose a president.