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Attackers Storm Mogadishu Hotel With Gov't Officials Inside

Sputnik News

13:48 20.02.2015(updated 16:30 20.02.2015)

Al-Shabab militants have stormed a hotel in the center of the Somali capital Mogadishu with high-ranking officials inside, after a car bomb had exploded outside the building.

A bomb blast has hit a popular hotel in the center of Mogadishu near the presidential palace. After a huge explosion unidentified gunmen started to storm the building where senior governmental officials and lawmakers were inside.

Al-Shabab terrorist group has claimed the responsibility for the attack.

'Our fighters attacked the Central Hotel… the aim is to kill the apostate officials,' Al Shabab spokesperson told AFP.

'There were ministers and legislators inside the hotel. I have seen many people with injuries, including a lawmaker,' Nur Mohamed, a police major told reporters.

According to law enforcers, at least 20 people confirmed dead. Eyewitnesses say MPs are among those killed. Somalia's deputy prime minister and transport minister are reportedly injured during the attack, local police say.

For the past seven years, the Mogadishu government has been under assault by the al-Shabaab Islamist group, which wants to topple the UN-backed government and create an Islamic state on the controlled territories. The ongoing political crisis in Somalia stems from 1991, when the clan-based opposition groups overthrew the Revolutionary Socialist Party.

Since then, the country has been without an effective government, with the internationally-recognized federal authorities controlling only the capital city of Mogadishu and a part of central Somalia. The other areas in the country are self-governing or controlled by unrecognized state formations.

Sputnik



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