Al-Shabaab militants storm Mogadishu hotel

Mogadishu, Jan 25 (IANS) Al-Shabaab militants on Wednesday stormed a hotel in the Somali capital here after detonating a bomb at the gates and have taken several hostages, witnesses told the media.

Radical propagandist radio station Andalus Radio said there were several fatalities, but it has not been confirmed.

The attackers detonated a car bomb at the doors of the popular Dayah hotel and then entered and began to shoot indiscriminately, Efe news reported.

Gunshots continue to be fired at the hotel, where a large column of smoke can be seen.

Efe spoke with a Somali parliamentarian who is inside the hotel, and he said numerous people remain hidden to avoid being fired at by the militants.

No official death toll has been given yet.

Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda’s Somalia-based affiliate, has claimed responsibility for the attack in Mogadishu, where in recent months it has carried out numerous assaults that have left dozens of civilians dead.

Hotels and restaurants here have been a constant target of the terrorist group, which threatened to intensify the attacks in the country during elections that have been postponed on several occasions and still not carried out.

In recent months, the terrorists have opted for a direct confrontational strategy and launched several attacks against military bases of the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), killing hundreds of soldiers.

The Islamist militia is fighting to establish a Wahhabi Islamic state in Somalia, where it controls large areas of territory in the south and centre of the country.