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Post: Somali hotel siege operation ends, death toll rises to eight

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Somali security forces ended a bloody siege hours after members of the Islamic Youth Movement attacked a hotel in the capital Mogadishu, a police spokesman said, bringing the death toll to eight.

“The Hotel Villa Rosa combination is over,” Sadiq Dodish told reporters. He confirmed that the jihadists “killed eight civilians who were inside the hotel, while security forces managed to rescue around 60 civilians. No civilians were injured.”

I could still hear explosions and gunfire at dawn around the hotel, which is frequented by lawmakers and dignitaries and is just a few blocks from the office of Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud.

“A group of al-Shabaab fighters attacked a commercial hotel in Bondir on Sunday night and security forces are trying to eliminate them,” National Police spokesman Sadiq Dudish said in a statement.

Many civilians and politicians were rescued and evacuated on Sunday night.

Eyewitnesses reported the sound of explosions, followed by gunfire. “I was near Villa Rose when there were two big explosions in the hotel. There were loud shots. The area was cordoned off and I saw people fleeing,” said eyewitness Aden Hussain in Mogadishu.

Al Shabaab, a militant group linked to Al Qaeda that has been trying to overthrow Somalia’s central government for 15 years, claimed responsibility for the attack.

On its website, the Villa Rose Hotel describes itself as “the safest place to stay in Mogadishu” with metal detectors and a high wall.

The African Union Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) condemned the attack and praised “Somali security forces for their swift response to prevent further casualties and property damage” on Twitter.

revenge attacks

The new attack comes as Somalia’s newly elected president decided in May to launch an “all-out war” against al-Shabaab.

The Somali army, with support from local clans and Atmis and US air support, regained control of the Hirani region and much of the center of the country.

However, the insurgents responded with a series of bloody attacks, demonstrating their ability to attack Somali cities and military installations.

On 29 October, 121 people were killed and 333 injured in a double car bomb attack at a busy intersection in the Somali capital Mogadishu, claimed by the Islamist group al-Shabaab. It was the deadliest attack in five years in the Horn of Africa country.

Similarly, a triple bombing in central Beledwein in early October killed 30 people, including local officials, and at least 21 guests were killed in a 30-hour siege of a Mogadishu hotel in August.

According to the United Nations, at least 613 civilians have been killed and 948 injured in violence in Somalia this year in attacks with improvised explosive devices blamed on al-Shabaab. These numbers are the highest since 2017 and are up more than 30% from last year.

Source: EuroNews

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