Eleven people are killed in Somali hotel attack claimed by Al-Shabaab on Sunday. — AFP/VNA Photo
MOGADISHU — Ten civilians and one police officer were killed in a gun and bomb attack by Al-Shabaab fighters on an upscale beachfront hotel in Somalia's capital on Sunday, an official said.
Security forces took four hours to regain control of the Elite Hotel in the Lido beach area of Mogadishu after five assailants stormed it early Sunday evening, said information ministry spokesman Ismael Mukhtaar Omar.
"Ten people were dead and five militants were also killed, plus one Somalia special police officer," Omar said.
It was not clear how Somali security forces managed to end the siege on the hotel and kill the assailants, who at one point were said to have taken hostages.
Earlier on Sunday, while the siege was still ongoing, a security source said on condition of anonymity that one of the assailants had died in the car bomb explosion that kicked off the attack and two others had died in a shootout.
Ambulance workers at the scene reported that at least 28 people were wounded.
Witnesses said the attack began with a heavy explosion and people ran from the area as gunfire could be heard from the hotel, which is frequented by government officials.
"The blast was very heavy and I could see smoke in the area. There is chaos and people are fleeing from nearby buildings," said witness Ali Sayid Adan.
The dead included government official Abdirasak Abdi, who worked at the information ministry, his colleague Hussein Ali said.
Al-Shabaab said they carried out the attack, according to a statement translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
The statement claimed its fighters "took control over the hotel" in the "martyrdom-seeking operation". — AFP