According to local police, 30 people, including a government minister, were rescued from the hotel as the gunfire continued between the extremists and security forces. Extremist group Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack and said its fighters were inside the hotel.
The attack came just two weeks after more than 350 people were killed in a truck bombing on a busy Mogadishu street, the worst single explosion in the history of the Somali capital. The government holds Al-Shabab responsible for it. A police officer who requested not to be named told Xinhua there were many casualties at the scene. A second blast went off shortly after the first in the same location.
A witness said the second explosion went off just when a truck tried to tow a small vehicle from the scene as rescue teams were trying to gain access. The attack happened as the country’s leaders converged in Mogadishu for a high-level security meeting which was scheduled to kick off on Sunday. (Xinhua)