Islamic Militant group, Al-Shabab said on Friday August 19, it had taken control of Hayat hotel near the centre of the Somali capital, Mogadishu after detonating two explosives outside the hotel and opening fire.
The Hayat hotel that was ambushed by the terrorist is said to be a popular location for employees of the federal government to meet and according to reports the Head of Somali intelligence services was at the hotel before it was attacked.
Nine people have been injured and carried away from the hotel, the head of Mogadishu’s Aamin ambulance services, Abdikadir Abdirahman reportedly told Reuters news agency.
Images circulating on social media show smoke billowing from the hotel while loud bangs can be heard as the attack occured.
Police said after the militants detonated two explosives outside the hotel, they entered the building and opened fire.
An affiliate of al-Qaeda, Al-Shabab has engaged in a long running conflict with the Somalian federal government.
The group controls much of southern and central Somalia and is now trying to control Mogadishu, the capital controlled by the government.
The attack on Friday marks the first attack in the capital by the group since Somalia’s new president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, was elected in May.
Somali security forces have surrounded the hotel and are trying to safely rescue hostages.
In a statement, the Islamist group claimed to be in control of the complex and said they “are shooting everyone”.
“Two car bombs targeted Hotel Hayat,” a police officer told the Reuters news agency in a statement.
“One hit a barrier near the hotel, and then the other hit the gate of the hotel. We believe the fighters are inside the hotel.” the officer added
BREAKING: Al Shabab group claims the responsibility for a bomb-and-gun attack on Hayat hotel in Mogadishu. Many people are trapped. A sporadic gunfire could be heard as the security forces have started an operation to end the hotel siege. pic.twitter.com/OybX8wKItd
— Shabelle Media Network (@ShabelleMedia) August 19, 2022
WATCH: Al Shabab group claims the responsibility for a bomb-and-gun attack on Hayat hotel near km4 junction in Mogadishu. The group says the hotel is under siege and continues an operation. #HotelHayat #Mogadishu pic.twitter.com/0gYgYQQTI4
— BNN Newsroom (@BNNBreaking) August 19, 2022
Around 7 p.m., three consecutive explosions rocked the KM 4 Hayat Hotel, sparking a gun battle.
Abdi Ganaf, a former Fuad Yassin security officer, was among those killed.
Al Shabab has claimed responsibility for the ongoing attack on the Hayat hotel near the km4 intersection. pic.twitter.com/NefveaIf4B
— BNN Somalia (@BNNSomalia) August 19, 2022