At least 19 killed in hotel attack in Somalia's capital

Elias Hubbard
June 19, 2017

A Somali police officer says a suicide bomber has detonated an explosives-laden vehicle at the gate of a restaurant in Somalia's capital, and gunfire can be heard inside.

A suicide auto bombing by Al-Shabaab militants on two neighbouring restaurants in Somalia's capital Mogadishu killed 18 persons.

The gunmen reportedly spent the night seeking out people still hiding at the venue and shooting them.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility shortly after the assault began Wednesday night with a auto bomb exploding at the restaurant's gate. Residents reported gunshots during the night.

An emergency team Aamin Ambulance said Thursday on Twitter that it has found 17 bodies and evacuated 26 people who were wounded, but has to "stop rescue work as the area became too dark while bombings are still going on". Numerous restaurant's workers are foreigners, mostly from Ethiopia. He did not identify the dead Syrian who local residents said worked as a chef at the Pizza House.

Survivors of the attack were led by soldiers from the Pizza House restaurant building.

Another 27 civilians were taken to hospital with various injuries, ambulance services said. "They were killing people on sight", Saida Hussein, a university student, told The Associated Press.

He said that a terrorist drove his auto into the entrance of the Posh Hotel in the center of the city.

Al-Shabab - which is alligned to al-Qaeda - claimed responsibility for the attack on its broadcaster Radio Andalus.

At least five armed attackers then stormed the Posh Treats and the neighbouring Pizza House cafe, opening machine gun fire and causing panic and chaos, security officials and witnesses told dpa.

The bloody attack has been claimed by Al Shabaab, an Islamist militant group terrorising East Africa. The ongoing security operation under the stabilization campaign in Mogadishu and others targeting Al-Shabaab camps have left the militants severely weakened.

Al-Shabab vowed to step up attacks after the recently elected government launched a new military offensive against it.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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