A vehicle loaded with explosives crashes into the front door of the Afrik Hotel in Mogadishu before combatants storm inside.
Somalia’s al-Shabab armed group, police say, launched a car bomb attack on a hotel in the capital, Mogadishu, before fighters stormed inside.
A vehicle loaded with explosives crashed into the front door of the Afrik Hotel near the K-4 strategic junction in Mogadishu on Sunday afternoon, police spokesman Sadiq Adan Ali said.
A number of gunmen then quickly stormed the hotel, opening fire on staff and customers inside, he said.
Government forces responded to the attack and gunshots could be heard coming from the hotel. Police rescued scores of people from the hotel, including its owner and an army general, according to the Associated Press news agency.
At least seven wounded civilians could be seen, the news agency reported. Several ambulances transported the injured to hospital.
Police officer Ali Hassan told the DPA that more than nine people, mostly civilians, were killed in the attack.
Al-Shabab, an armed group linked to Al-Qaeda that seeks to overthrow the country’s government backed by the international community, claimed responsibility for the attack through its Andalus radio station.
“We know they haven’t changed their usual tactics, shoving explosives into a building and following up, attacking with guns,” said Ali, the police spokesman.
Al-Shabab frequently carries out bombings in its war against the Somali government, which is supported by United Nations and African Union (AU) peacekeeping troops.
In another incident, at least eight children were killed and many more injured when a bomb exploded in the Golweyn area, about 40 km (25 miles) north of the coastal town of Merca, 120 km (74 miles) south of Mogadishu.