At least 15 dead as Islamic extremists attack beachside hotel in Somalia

Four attackers laid siege to a beachside hotel, killing at least 15 people today.

Somalia’s security forces ended a five-hour siege by killing the Islamic extremists at the Elite Hotel in the capital, Mogadishu, and rescuing dozens of people trapped inside.

The attack started in the afternoon with a powerful car bomb blast which blew off the security gates to the hotel.

Then gunmen ran inside and took hostages, mostly young men and women who were dining there, he said.

Ambulance sirens could be heard in the area, which had a power cut when the attack started.

The hotel is a new establishment popular with Mogadishu’s young people, said Colonel Ahmed Aden, a police officer.

Somalia’s homegrown Islamic extremist rebels, al-Shabab, who are allied to al Qaida, have claimed responsibility for the attack via its radio arm, Andalus.

The hotel attack shattered a period of calm that had lasted for a few months.

Earlier this year Somalia had a spate of bomb attacks.

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