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Military

Deadly Seige on Mogadishu Hotels

by VOA News July 10, 2015

Al-Shabab gunmen attacked two hotels in Somalia's capital Friday evening, killing at least six people.

Witnesses say car bombs exploded at the gates of the Weheliye and Siyad hotels in Mogadishu and that gunmen stormed the buildings.

Somalia's minister of fisheries and marine resources, Mohamed Omar Emooy, was among dozens of Somali officials who were inside the Weheliye hotel at the time of the attack.

Emooy told VOA he had just started to break his Ramadan fast when a large explosion went off at the hotel gate. He said security forces intervened shortly after and ended the siege.

A Somali security official told VOA that four al-Shabab gunmen were killed at the gate of the Weheliye hotel.

Witnesses at the Siyad hotel say fighting continues inside the building. That hotel is close to the presidential palace and the fortified government district.

Medical officials told VOA they have picked up at least eight wounded civilians from the scenes of both hotels.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attacks. The group has been trying for years to overthrow the Somali government and establish a strict Islamic state.

Somali soldiers and troops from the African Union's peacekeeping force have had success in pushing al-Shabab from Somalia's major cities, but the group still controls other areas and continues to launch attacks.

VOA's Somali Service contributed to this report.



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