Al Shabaab has claimed responsibility for an attack on a hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu, in which nine people including four attackers are reported to have been killed, according to Reuters Africa reports.
A car bomb exploded near a popular hotel in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on Sunday, January 31. The explosion was followed by a shootout between militants and police. Militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack.
Witnesses said the massive blast occurred Sunday near Hotel Afrik, located in the vicinity of a busy security checkpoint en route to the Mogadishu airport.
Police say al-Shabab members stormed the hotel and many of the people inside were rescued, including Somalia’s former state minister for defense, Yusuf Siad Indha-Adde.
A VOA reporter, Abdikafi Yusuf Aden, was also inside the hotel at the time and survived.
“There was confusion and thick smoke rose up after the blast occurred. People were jumping down over the wall as we ran for our lives,” Aden told VOA News Somali.
Somali General Nour Galal is among the victims of the attack in Mogadishu local media reports.
Aden said he saw at least three people injured where he was hiding, but was unable to confirm what happened outside or on the other side of the hotel.
VOA reporters in Mogadishu said dozens of people were still trapped inside as night fell and security forces engaged attackers in an operation to end the siege.
In Somalia at least three people were killed and 20 injured, including several Turkish nationals, when a suicide car bomb targeted a police convoy, escorting Turkish contractors Anadolu new agency reports.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency over the phone, Somali government spokesman Ismail Mukhtar Oronjo confirmed the attack in the town of Afgoye, in the lower Shabelle region.
“Several people including soldiers were killed and 20 others wounded, and casualties could rise,” he said.
He also said among those injured were Somalia’s deputy commander of special forces.
Separately, Bashir Ahmed, a police official in Afgoye, told Anadolu Agency that three people, including soldiers, were killed in the attack.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca and the Turkish Embassy in Mogadishu said that some four to six Turkish citizens, including building contractors, were injured in the attack.
A car bomb exploded in the Somali capital Mogadishu on December 28, leaving at least 90 dead and scores of injured – with the death toll expected to rise.
The explostion occured in a busy area of the Somali capital Mogadishu, in the middle of desnse city traffic. “The number of casualties we have confirmed is 76 dead and 70 wounded, it could still be higher,” the director of the private Aamin Ambulance services, Abdukadir Abdirahman Haji told AFP.
Among the victims are students and two Turkish nationals, the Somali Foreign minister said.
Mogadishu is regularly hit by car bombs and attacks waged by Al-Shabaab Islamist militants allied to Al-Qaeda.
The group was forced out of the Somali capital in 2011 but still controls parts of the countryside and has also staged attacks in neighbouring Kenya.
“The European Union expresses its deepest condolences to the victims and their families and wishes a prompt recovery to those wounded in this act of terror”, the European External Action Service spokesperson said, reacting upon a car bomb explosion in Cairo on August 4, which has left at least 20 people dead, and many injured.
“The European Union stands side by side with Egypt in its efforts to defeat terrorism in the country”.
An explosion in Cairo was terrorist-related, Egypt‘s president Al Sisi said.
“I extend my deepest condolences to the Egyptian people and the families of the martyrs killed in the cowardly terrorist incident in the vicinity of the Kasr al-Aini area yesterday evening,” he wrote in his official social media account, paying tribute to victims.
The raids, conducted at dawn Saturday, December 29, targeted three whereabouts of suspected terrorists who were planning hostile acts during the Christmas holidays, according to the state-run Al-Ahram online newspaper.
Ammunition, firearms and improvised explosive devices were recovered in significant numbers, Al-Ahram said, citing the Interior ministry statement.
The raids were ordered after the bus attack “as a continuation of the ministry’s efforts in chasing terrorist elements involved in the implementation of hostile operations seeking to destabilize the country’s security,” the statement said.
“Information was available to the national security sector about the preparation and planning of a series of terrorist attacks targeting state institutions, especially economy, tourism industry, armed forces, police and Christian houses of worship.”
Three Vietnamese tourists and an Egyptian tour guide were killed and at least 11 people were injured in the attack December 28, in a lively tourist area of Giza, near Cairo, at proximity of Great pyramids.
The EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn condemned the terrorist attack in Tunis, committed by a woman (29) suicide bomber; who blew herself up near police vehicles in the center of the Tunisian capital, killing one policeman and injuring nine pedestrians.
The attack followed a chain of terrorist acts since June 2015, when 38 people were killed in a shooting rampage at the coastal resort of Sousse targeting tourists, while an attack the same year on the National Bardo Museum in Tunis left 22 people dead.
The terror attacks targeted Tunisia’s crucial tourism sector, which at times reached seven percent of gross domestic product.
The country has been under a state of emergency since November 2015, when an IS-claimed suicide bombing in Tunis killed 12 presidential guards.
The state of emergency was extended earlier this month until November 6, amid a tense political climate ahead of legislative and presidential elections planned for next year.