A complex attack by al-Shabaab militants used a combination of a car bomb and armed militants to destroy and capture a hotel complex in Mogadishu. So far, 28 people are reported killed in the blast and subsequent shooting spree. The complex is the Hotel Maka Al-Mukarama, located in the busiest shopping district in the city, hit once before by militants. At press time, there are no reports of U.S. citizens killed in the attack.
“The security forces rescued dozens of civilians in the hotel and nearby buildings. The militants are still inside and an exchange of fire still continues,” said Maj. Mohamed Hussein, a police officer, told Reuters.
“The death toll may rise. It was very difficult for the security forces to enter the building last night because it is dark and electricity was cut by the blast. Now it is daybreak, and we hope the operation will be concluded in the following hours,” he added.
Gen. Ali Mohamed Hassan told NEWSREP “the militants were wearing Somali security forces uniforms, which compounded the complexity of ending the attack.” He added “the gun battle is ongoing” but believes it will be resolved shortly.
“I have been running to and fro from blast scene to hospitals since yesterday evening in search of my husband and brother who were selling a shop at the place where the blast took place. I have just seen them in the hospital, they are in critical conditions. My husband lost his stomach and my brother suffered severe wounds to both arms,” civilian Halima Omar told Reuters.