A deserted street near the scene of an Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab group militant attack at Hotel Hayat in Mogadishu. Reuters
Several other people were injured and security forces rescued many others, including children, from the scene of the attack at Mogadishu's Hayat Hotel, they said.
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The attack started with explosions outside the hotel before gunmen entered the building.
Gunfire could still be heard early Saturday as security forces tried to contain the last gunmen, who were thought to be holed up in the hotel. It was unclear how many militants remained on the hotel’s top floor.
Security forces patrol near the Hayat Hotel after an attack by Al Shabaab fighters in Mogadishu on Saturday. AFP
The extremist group Al Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest of its frequent attempts to strike places that are often visited by government officials.
There was no immediate word on the identities of the victims.
"We were having tea near the hotel lobby when we heard the first blast followed by gunfire. I immediately rushed toward hotel rooms on the ground floor, and I locked," eyewitness Abdullahi Hussein told the media by phone. "The militants went straight upstairs and started shooting. I was inside the room until the security forces arrived and rescued me.”
He said that on his way to safety he saw "several bodies lying on the ground outside hotel reception."
The Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabab often targets Mogadishu, and the United Nations and other international observers have warned that the group would take advantage of Somalia’s current election crisis to launch more attacks.
The crash began with a reported stabbing in Dayton, police said, and a pickup truck accident in the Dayton suburb of Riverside at about 7:30 p.m. Apparently, the suspect in the reported stabbing fled that scene and then crashed the pickup, police said.
Photos of the grisly scene circulated on social media showing a bullet-riddled police car and an unmarked truck, along with officers’ bodies scattered out along the street or still inside the car.
The spillover of political rivalries into open conflict will dismay Somalia’s allies and play into the hands of the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab insurgency, which mounts attacks on civilians around East Africa in its bid to install strict Islamic law.
A number of areas in the country, on Tuesday, witnessed light to heavy rain, accompanied by lightning and thunder, because of the country being affected by a surface depression.
Drake added that Hale left a manifest and maps of the school detailing control points, entry and exit points, and was "prepared for a confrontation with law enforcement."
The Dubai Court of Misdemeanours sent an Asian one month behind bars and fined Dhs14,000, on the charges of conniving with a fugitive to steal two phones by force after he ordered them through an electronic shopping application.