Al-Shabab Militants Holed Up in Mogadishu Hotel

Explosions and gunfire rang out Monday from a hotel in Somalia’s capital that was attacked by a group of insurgents Sunday.

Four people were killed overnight in the hotel, according to an Agence France Presse report.

“The terrorist gunmen are trapped inside a room in the building and the security forces are about to end the siege very soon…so far we have confirmed the death of four people,” Mohamed Dahir, a security official told AFP.

Reuters reports Somalia’s parliament canceled sessions for both of its houses because of the militants’ hotel attack.

Al-Shabab militants carried out the complex attack on the Villa Rays Hotel, located in a secure area not far from the presidential palace in Mogadishu and a prison run by the national intelligence agency, according to witnesses and police. The hotel is frequented by government officials and politicians.

Witnesses have seen special security forces moving into the area. Police said they rescued many civilians and officials.

In a Telegram post, the militant group said its fighters conducted a suicide infantry mission.

The attack comes as Somali government forces supported by local fighters continue an offensive against the militants in Hirshabelle and Galmudug states.

Somali Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre last week said security forces have killed more than 600 militants and injured 1,200 others during three months of military operations against the group.

In a report marking the first 100 days of his Cabinet, he said security forces have also recovered 68 localities from al-Shabab.

“The government of Dan Qaran (National Interest) has launched a three-front war, militarily, economically and ideology against the Khawarij,” he said.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the name of the Villa Rays Hotel.

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