Somali security forces evacuate officials from a hotel near the presidential palace in the capital Mogadishu

Somalia: Al-Shabab gunmen attack Mogadishu hotel

[Aljazeera] Al-Shabab gunmen have attacked a hotel near the presidential palace in Somalia's capital, according to police and the armed group.

Fighting was still continuing following Tuesday's attack on SYL hotel in Mogadishu.

"We thought they were police but they started hurling grenades and firing us when they neared and so we exchanged fire at the gate of the hotel," a police officer who gave his name as Ahmed told Reuters news agency.

Zakia Hussen, Somalia's deputy police commissioner, said security forces killed two of the attackers outside the hotel and were fighting two others on the premises.

"So far, security forces have rescued 82 people, both civilians and officials," Zakia said on her Twitter account.

Abdi-Aziz Abu Mus'ab, al-Shabab's military spokesman, confirmed the group was behind the attack and said its fighters were inside the hotel compound, which is popular with government officials and politicians.
An Nahar adds:
The attack on Tuesday evening, claimed by the Islamist group al-Shabaab, took place at a hotel in Mogadishu popular with politicians, army officers and diplomats.

Several witnesses told AFP that the assailants were dressed in police uniform, which allowed them to approach the hotel without arousing suspicion.

They then opened fire and threw grenades, triggering an armed response from security forces guarding checkpoints leading to the nearby presidential palace.
Posted by: Fred 2019-12-11