Al Shabab attacks Mogadishu hotel, 25 killed

The Somali militant Islamist group al-Shabab claimed a double bombing and siege of a hotel in downtown Mogadishu that began late Thursday and continued for 20 hours until Somali special forces could clear the area of attackers.

Police officials offered conflicting reports about the death toll, but it appeared that at least 25 people were killed and at least 60 wounded.

The attack took place on a street lined with restaurants and shops in the heart of Somalia’s capital. Al-Shabab attacks Mogadishu frequently, and its deadliest attack ever – a truck bombing that killed more than 500 in 2017 – took place just a mile down the same road where the overnight siege took place.

Photos and videos of the attack posted to social media Thursday night showed the hotel in flames and ambulances rushing to the scene.

This the third and most serious attack on the hotel, which is frequented by politicians and members of the Somali diaspora on trips home. It is not yet clear whether the attackers had a specific target in the hotel or nearby.