UPDATE: 20 dead as explosions, gunfire erupt at Dayah Hotel in Mogadishu
Al Shabaab militants have attacked Dayah hotel today in Mogadishu after setting off two bombs.
The hotel is located on Al-Mukarama Road and is currently hosting a number of government officials.
According to witnesses, Al Shabaab fighters used a car bomb to penetrate the hotel’s gates before storming the compound and engaging security forces in a gun battle . Shortly after as reinforcements began to arrive, a car packed with explosives parked outside the hotel was detonated.
Debris from the explosion landed on a nearby residence causing a fire.
UPDATE: An eyewitness official close to the investigation has told HOL that at least 20 people have died in the attacks including a number of journalists. The same source also said the many more were wounded and transported to local hospitals, adding that the death toll is likely rise.
Buildings around the hotel were also damaged including a business next door that was completely gutted.
Security officials have told HOL that the battle for the hotel is over and government forces have secured the building and it’s surrounding area.
Al Shabaab has officially claimed responsibility for the attacks, which is the deadliest attack in 2017.
Minister of Security, Abdirizak Omar Mohamed confirmed in a press conference that the attackers used two vehicles in the attack. The attackers were young teenagers between the ages of 16-20 whom the minister called “misguided and brainwashed”. He accused Al Shabaab leaders directly of killing young Somalis.
He also added that a total of 51 people are at Mogadishu area hospitals were they are currently being treated for various wounds.