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Militants attack hotel in Somali capital, 25 killed

20 February 2015 17:42

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More than two dozen people have been killed when al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militants launched an attack against a hotel in the heart of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.

“The building was badly hit, the explosion was very big,” police officer Abulrahman Ali said on Friday, adding, “There were very many wounded people too, many of them seriously.”

Twin explosions were followed by heavy gunfire at the upmarket Central Hotel, which is a short distance from Villa Somalia presidential palace.

Government sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Deputy Mayor of Mogadishu Iman Icar was among those killed, while Deputy Prime Minister Mohamed Omar Arte and Minister for Transport and Civil Aviation Mohamed Hussein Ishaq sustained injuries.

On February 9, al-Shabab gunmen shot dead Somali lawmaker Abdullahi Qayad Barre as he left his house for parliament.

Al-Shabab says it is targeting the legislators as they permitted foreign troops to be deployed to the country.

On December 4, 2014, the militants armed with AK-47 assault rifles and traveling in a luxury car opened fire on the car of Somali lawmaker Mustafa Mayow in the center of the capital, before racing off. Liban Abdullahi Nor, a former legislator, and two bodyguards were killed in the assault, while Mayow sustained injuries.

Somalia has been the scene of deadly clashes between government forces and al-Shabab militants since 2006.

The militants have been pushed out of Mogadishu and other major cities in the country by government forces and the African Union Mission in Somalia, which is largely made up of troops from Ethiopia, Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Sierra Leone, and Kenya.

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