Somali security forces shot dead five Al Shabaab gunmen, who killed three civilians and two soldiers during an attack on a hotel in Mogadishu on Tuesday night, police said.
Al Shabaab, an al Qaeda linked Islamist militant group, frequently launches bombing and gun raids in Mogadishu in a bid to topple Somalia’s UN-backed government. The group confirmed it attacked the Syl hotel, a popular gathering place for officials and lawmakers.
The attack started at 7 pm on Tuesday and ended at about 1 am on Wednesday, when all five attackers were dead, deputy police commissioner General Zakia Hussen said on Twitter.
“The security forces ended the operation. Five people including three civilians and two soldiers died in the attack,” Hussen said.
“Eleven others, nine civilians and two soldiers, were injured” she added.
Hussen said earlier 82 people, including several officials, were rescued from the hotel.
Security officers initially mistook the gunmen for police, until they began shooting and throwing grenades, another police officer said.
Al Shabaab’s military spokesman Abdiaziz Abu Musab said the group’s fighters were behind the attack at the hotel compound near the presidential palace.
Somalia, in the Horn of Africa, has been embroiled in conflict and chaos since 1991, when clan-based warlords overthrew a dictator then turned on each other.
Al Shabaab, which once controlled much of the country, was forced out of Mogadishu in 2011 and lost most of its strongholds. Its fighters regularly attack sites in Somalia and neighbouring Kenya, which has troops in Somalia.