A police spokesman said eight civilians and one soldier were killed in the siege and five other soldiers were injured.
Somali security forces stormed a hotel in the capital to end a near-day-long siege by al-Shabab militants that killed nine people at a building near the president’s residence in the capital. police said.
Gunfire rang out from inside the hotel on Monday as special forces battled the rebels more than 12 hours after armed groups stormed the building in central Mogadishu.
A police spokesman said 60 civilians had been rescued, while a government minister said he and others broke through doors to escape after being arrested in a hotel after evening vigil when A suicide bomber attacks and a gunfight breaks out.
The attack underscores the al-Qaeda-allied group’s continued ability to carry out deadly attacks with sometimes high casualties inside the city even as the government of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud proceeds. an attack against them.
“The operation at the Rose Hotel has ended,” said Sadik Aden Ali, a police spokesman, referring to the Villa Rose hotel, where the siege took place.
Ali said the rebels had killed eight civilians and later added that one soldier had also died in the siege. He said five soldiers were wounded.
Ali said six al-Shabab fighters were involved in the attack, with one detonating a suicide bomb and five being shot dead by security forces.
Al-Shabab, which controls parts of the country, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying in a statement it was targeting the nearby presidential palace.
The armed group is seeking to overthrow the government and establish its own rule, regularly launching attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere.
‘Rain of bullets’
Government officials in Mogadishu often use the Villa Rose hotel for meetings. Some officials also live there.
Somalia’s Environment Minister Adam Aw Hirsi said the attack on the hotel where he lived began with a deafening explosion carried out by a suicide bomber, followed by militants walking to break the siege. of the hotel is strictly guarded.
“I was leaving the hotel mosque, where we were doing evening prayers in the congregation when the explosion happened. The roof of the VIP room I was in was flying up and glass was breaking everywhere,” Hirsi told Reuters.
“After that, bullets rained down in all directions,” he said, adding that he, a friend and another minister fled the building through the rear exit. “Many people followed us to the exit, we broke through the door with group kicks and got out safely.”
When asked what the government would do next, he said there would be no turning back and the government would “not give up the fight”.
Somali government forces, supported by tribal militias, and occasionally, African Union troops and US air raids, achieved a number of battlefield victories during the offensive. against al-Shabab over the past three months.
The US military has carried out several airstrikes against al-Shabab this year, but it is unclear if they were involved in Monday’s battle.
Despite being repelled, al-Shabab is still able to carry out massive attacks on both civilian and military targets.
In October, two car bombs exploded at the Somali Ministry of Education next to a busy market, killing at least 120 people. It was the deadliest attack since a truck bomb exploded at the same intersection in October 2017, killing more than 500 people.
Somalia’s parliament says it has postpone a scheduled session for both of its homes on Monday as the siege unfolded.