At least 12 killed in Somalia hotel siege, hostages held

AFP

At least 12 people have been killed in Somalia's capital Mogadishu after al Qaeda-linked militants attacked a hotel, seizing hostages that authorities were battling to free nearly 20 hours later.

The attackers blasted their way into the Hayat Hotel on Friday evening with two car bombs before opening fire.

Somalia's al Shabaab insurgents have claimed responsibility. 

"So far we have confirmed 12 people, mostly civilians, died," Mohammed, an intelligence officer who only gave one name, told Reuters.

The gunmen were holding an unknown number of hostages on the second floor of the facility, Mohammed said, preventing authorities from using heavy weapons.

They had also boombed out the stairs to make it harder to access certain floors, he said.

The detonations sent huge plumes of smoke over the busy junction on Friday night, and the sound of gunfire still crackled across the capital by 0700 GMT on Saturday.

Sounds of explosions punctuated the night as government forces tried to wrest control of the hotel back from the militants, witnesses said.

Large sections of the hotel were destroyed by the fighting, they said.

Friday's attack was the first major attack since President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took office in May.

More from International

Coming Up on Dubai Eye

  • The Agenda

    10:00am - 1:00pm

    Broadcasting every weekday, Georgia Tolley goes beyond the headlines to speak to government ministers, decision makers, analysts and local experts to find out how the news will impact those of us living in the UAE.

  • Entertainment Extra

    1:00pm - 2:00pm

BUSINESS BREAKFAST LATEST

On Dubai Eye

  • Flying Taxis

    It sounds like an episode of The Jetsons, but the sight of flying taxis whizzing around our cities could be much closer than you think.

  • Tough penalties for deliberate tax evasion

    The UAE has said that tougher penalties will come into force from 1st August for not keeping proper corporate tax records.