Al-Shabaab attack on Somalia hotel leaves 14 dead

Police on Friday said at least 12 civilians had been killed.

Sunday February 28 2016

A Somali national walks near a destroyed building after the attack on SYL hotel on February 27, 2016 in Mogadishu, Somalia. PHOTO | AFP

A Somali national walks near a destroyed building after the attack on SYL hotel on February 27, 2016 in Mogadishu, Somalia. PHOTO | AFP 

By AFP
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MOGADISHU, Saturday

The death toll rose to 14 on Saturday from massive bomb blasts outside a Mogadishu hotel and a park that was claimed by Al-Shabaab Islamists, government and medical sources said.

Eighteen people were wounded in Friday’s bombings, two of whom succumbed to their injuries on Saturday, Dr Mohamed Moalim of Medina Hospital in the Somali capital said.

Police on Friday said at least 12 civilians had been killed.

Two explosions went off near the popular SYL hotel and neighbouring Peace Garden followed by more than an hour of automatic gunfire.

The hotel and park are close to the top-security Villa Somalia complex that houses the presidential palace and the prime minister’s office.

Security Minister Abdirasak Omar Mohamed said the assailants drove a truck packed with 200 kilogrammes of explosives to the SYL Hotel.

“Security forces managed to stop the truck at a checkpoint that the driver tried to forcefully pass and this effort minimised casualty figures,” he said. “It exploded and a number of people died”.

He said it was the biggest blast to hit the city in recent years, more powerful than an attack last July when a suicide bomber rammed a truck full of explosives into Jazeera Palace Hotel, killing 17 people.

Abdirahman Ahmed, a witness who was inside the hotel at the time, said several people were slightly wounded, including three security guards, “but the gunmen who tried to storm the hotel were killed outside”.

“The blast was very huge and windows broke everywhere but the gunfire was outside,” he said.

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