Huge explosion as gunmen storm high-rise hotel in Somalia’s capital

Police Major Hassan Dahir confirmed to CNN that a gun battle was taking place between gunmen and Somali security forces at the Hayat Hotel in Somalia’s capital, an area frequented by lawmakers and government officials.

Two security officials, including Mogadishu’s intelligence chief Muhidin Mohamed, were wounded in the ongoing attack, Dahir said. Details remained murky, however, as the siege continued.

Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on its affiliated online sites, saying its fighters managed to seize the hotel after their road to the building. CNN has not independently confirmed the claim.
A US airstrike on Sunday killed 13 members of the al-Shabaab group, according to a statement by the US Africa Command last week. It was unclear whether Friday’s attack was connected to that strike.

In May, US President Joe Biden decided to redeploy troops to Somalia in support of the local government and to counter al-Shabaab. The move reverses former President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw all US troops from the country.