Al-Shabab Islamist militants attack Hayat hotel in Somali capital, hold everyone hostage

Al-Shabab Islamist militants attack Hayat hotel in Somali capital, hold everyone hostage

Al-Shabab said on Friday August 19, it 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

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