At least 12 killed as Somalia hotel siege enters second day
Somali security officers are seen at a section of Hotel Hayat, the scene of an al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group militant attack in Mogadishu, Somalia August 20, 2022
An intelligence officer claimed on Saturday that al Qaeda-linked terrorists assaulted a hotel in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, capturing captives who police were still struggling to release 24 hours later.
The assailants detonated two vehicle explosives inside the Hayat Hotel on Friday evening before starting fire. Al Shabaab rebels in Somalia claimed responsibility.
According to Mohammed, the gunmen were holding an unknown number of hostages on the second level of the building, preventing officials from utilizing heavier weaponry.
He further said that they had blown out the staircases to make it more difficult to access specific floors.
On Saturday evening, as the siege entered its second day, officials had controlled 95% of the building, according to Somali National Television, the state broadcaster. The broadcaster did not provide an up-to-date count of victims.
Those battling the militants inside the hotel include Gaashan, a paramilitary force specializing in counterinsurgency, a former security official familiar with the force told Reuters.
According to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Organization, which monitors jihadist group statements, the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group claimed responsibility for the attack.
For more than a decade, Al Shabaab has been battling to destabilize the Somali government. It wishes to impose its own rules based on a rigorous interpretation of Islamic law.
The Hayat Hotel is a favorite meeting place for legislators and other government figures. There was no word on whether any of them had been caught up in the siege.