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Several Believed Dead After Al-Shabaab Militants Storm Mogadishu Hotel, Fight Somali Security Forces

© Sputnik / Yuryi Abramochkin / Go to the mediabankThe capital of Somalia Mogadishu
The capital of Somalia Mogadishu - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.08.2022
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A US airstrike killed 13 members of the Islamist militia Al-Shabaab* over the weekend, the latest in a uptick of fighting with the al-Qaeda-aligned group that has stubbornly held onto territory in the Somalian interior.
Attackers seized control of the Hayat Hotel after three explosions rocked Somalia's capital of Mogadishu on Friday. Some of the blasts reportedly happened near the hotel close to the KM4 Junction, a large traffic circle located in a strategic part of the coastal city. The explosions are said to have been followed by heavy gunfire at the hotel, with security forces reportedly trying to fend off the attackers.

A Somali journalist in the capital reported the attack was mounted by Al-Shabaab militants, who were being fought by security forces inside the Hayat Hotel. He noted the hotel is popular with both government officials and clan elders, several of whom have been wounded in the fighting, including intelligence chief Muhudin Warbac.

Abdikadir Abdirahman, the director and founder of the city's Aamin ambulance services, told Al Jazeera that nine individuals had sustained injuries, and were carried away from the hotel. Citing police and eyewitnesses, AP reported that at least 10 individuals had been killed.
Journalist Hussein Mohamed reported that "huge explosions" had been heard inside the hotel late Friday "as US trained forces Gaashan are battling with the attackers to end the 12 hour siege."
In earlier videos posted on social media, smoke can be seen billowing into the sky as the sound of gunfire cracks through the streets.
One video purported to capture the moment the attack was launched.
Somali security forces eventually rescued numerous prominent elders, although the Al-Shabaab fighters were reportedly not defeated.
US forces operating in the country delivered devastating strikes on Al-Shabaab over the weekend in locations near the Ethiopian border. The US has between 500 and 750 troops in the country and operates spy aircraft and drones from air bases in Djibouti and Kenya.
The East African country has also been threatened with factional violence in the last year, as competing visions for the country's federal-level political system vie for supremacy. Parts of the Somali army fought each other in the capital city in April 2021 amid an attempt by then-President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known as Farmaajo, to extend his presidential term and circumvent the political impasse.
In addition, a prolonged drought has placed millions in danger of famine, displacing more than 1 million people inside the country. Across the Horn of Africa, some 22 million people are endangered by the water shortages.
*Terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.
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