Somali forces have killed the last of four Al-Shabaab attackers who fought their way into the beachfront Elite Hotel in Mogadishu after a car bombing Sunday, a government spokesman says.
“#Somali special forces end a 4 hours-long deadly siege at Elite hotel in #Mogadushu after killing the last attacker,” Ismail Mukhtar said on Twitter late Sunday.
Mukhtar and police said four attackers were involved in the assault. He put the death toll at 10, including a solider and two officials with the information and defense ministries. Dozens of others have been wounded, hospital sources said.
Mukhtar said 205 people had been rescued after troops ended the siege at 10 p.m. local time.
The attack began when a car bomb detonated at the gates of the Elite Hotel and gunmen then launched an assault inside.
Somali terror group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on its mouthpiece channel, Radio Andalus.
“The mujahideen carried out an assault involving car bomb[s] and [a] gun raid targeting [the] Elite hotel owned by [a] Somali lawmaker,” the al Qaeda affiliated group said. The owner of the hotel, lawmaker Abdullahi Mohamed Nur, said after the siege ended that he was among those freed.
Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo issued a statement condemning the “heinous and cowardly” terrorist attack.
“The main purpose of the ambush attacks by the terrorists is to discourage the Somali people who are recovering from difficult circumstances,” he said. “It is a fact that their plan is to harm every Somali through some misguided Somali youth.”
The president issued his condolences over the victims of the attack and wished a speedy recovery to the wounded.
Somalia’s Ministry of Information confirmed the death of Abdirisak Abdi, a ministry official.
The beachfront Elite Hotel is regularly frequented by locals and foreigners since it is based in a heavily protected area in the city. But it is unclear if there are any foreign nationals currently staying at the hotel.
Al-Shabaab targeted the SYL hotel last year, resulting in a seven-hour battle. The group frequently targets Mogadishu in bombing and gun raids.
CNN’s Hira Humayun, Samantha Beech and Susannah Cullinane contributed tot his report.