People stand in front of the damaged Jazeera Palace hotel following a suicide attack in Mogadishu on July 26, 2015. Somalia's Shebab insurgents killed at least six people today when they detonated a huge car bomb at a heavily guarded hotel in the capital Mogadishu housing diplomatic missions, officials and witnesses said. AFP PHOTO / STRINGER (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
Suicide car bomb targets hotel
02:00 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Suicide bomber rams hotel's front gate in Somali capital, police say

Al-Shabaab terror group takes responsibility for attack that killed at least 15 people

CNN  — 

A suicide attacker drove a vehicle loaded with explosives into the gate of the Jazeera Palace Hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Sunday, killing at least 15 people, a police official said.

The Al-Shabaab terror group took responsibility for the attack, saying it was targeting Western diplomats. The luxury hotel houses the diplomatic missions for several nations, including China.

Capt. Ibrahim Liban, a police officer at the scene, said deaths occurred when a car bomb exploded at the hotel’s main gate. Among those killed was a Somali journalist who worked for the London-based Universal TV channel, Liban said.

Ambulances and security forces were on the scene, he said.

Abdiweli Qanyare, a member of Somalia’s Parliament who was near the hotel when the attack occurred, said it was one of the loudest explosions he had ever heard in the Somali capital.

The bomb destroyed part of the hotel and caused damage to nearby structures, Qanyare said.

The U.N. Assistance Mission in Somalia deplored the attack in a statement.

The African Union Mission in Somalia also called the attack “shameful” and said it “demonstrates the demonic agenda of the Al-Shabaab to want to deny Somalia the peace that is beginning, despite such unfathomable acts, to be enjoyed across the country.”

The AU mission said it had sent a team to bring wounded people to the organization’s hospital for care and to help Somali security forces evacuate foreigners from the hotel.

The attack follows a series of assaults July 10 on two Mogadishu hotels and a stadium housing peacekeepers. Al-Shabaab also took responsibility for those attacks.

CNN’s Michael Pearson wrote from Atlanta, and Kevin Wang reported from Atlanta. Journalist Omar Nor contributed to this report from Mogadishu, and CNN’s Robyn Kriel contributed from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.