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Usa News

Gunmen storm Mogadishu hotel, trap government officials

MOGADISHU, Somalia – Gunmen wearing suicide vests and suspected members of a militant group attacked a hotel popular with government officials in the Somali capital on Sunday, police said.

No casualties were immediately reported, but security forces rescued dozens of civilians and government officials, including the fisheries minister, from the Villa Rose hotel. Others remained trapped inside.

The militant group, Al Shabab, claimed responsibility for the attack. The group also said its fighters were carrying out an assault on the Somali presidential palace, which is near the hotel.

The number of attackers was not immediately clear. The extremist group has frequently targeted hotels where government officials meet or reside. The Villa Rose siege was still taking place late on Sunday.

At the start of the attack, two large explosions and heavy gunfire were heard.

Some government officials were rescued after escaping through windows, police told reporters. Among those rescued were the country’s fisheries minister, Abdilahi Bidhan Warsame, and a senator, Dunia Mohamed.

According to local reports, Internal Security Minister Mohamed Doodishe was injured in the attack. The reports could not be independently verified.

Adam Aw Hirsi, Minister of State for the Environment, wrote on Twitter that he was safe after a “terrorist explosion targeted” his residence at the hotel, where many government officials are known to stay.

On Friday, Shabaab militants attacked a military base in the village of Qayib in the central region of Galgaduud, a government minister told reporters, sparking violent clashes as the army tried to push them back.

nytimes Gt

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