In Mogadishu, Truck Bomb and Gunmen Kill at Least 19 in Hotel Attack
MOGADISHU, Somalia — A truck bomb detonated outside a hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, minutes before gunmen on foot stormed the building on Saturday afternoon, killing at least 19 people and wounding at least 15 others, state media reported.
The Nasa-Hablod hotel is frequented by government ministers, lawmakers and Somali business leaders.
The attack comes two weeks after a truck bomb left 358 people dead in the city.
The Shabab, an Al Qaeda-affiliated militant group, claimed responsibility for the attack on a media channel associated with the group.
Speaking to The Associated Press by telephone from the scene, Capt. Mohamed Hussein said more than 20 people, including government officials, were thought to be trapped as security forces continued to battle the extremists holed up on the top floor. Two of the five attackers were killed on the first floor, Mr. Hussein said. The hotel is close to the presidential palace.
The United States under President Trump has made a renewed push to defeat the Shabab, Somali-based militants who have terrorized the country and East Africa for years, killing civilians across borders, worsening famine and destabilizing a broad stretch of the region.
The Shabab — which once controlled most of Mogadishu — have lost much of their territory in recent years, the result of attacks by African Union forces, a fitfully strengthening Somali Army and increasing American air power. But the group remains a potent killing force, despite years of American counterterrorism operations.