Al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for setting off two bombs that killed at least 12 people and wounded 37 outside a hotel frequented by government officials and aid workers in Somalia’s capital.
A suicide bomber drove into the gate of Jazeera hotel located near Mogadishu’s international airport yesterday evening, leaving five people dead including the attacker, senior police officer Mohamed Sacid said by phone. Shortly after, a second blast occurred at the hotel parking area as emergency personnel worked at the scene, killing at least seven people including a senior police commander, Sacid said.
Somalia-based Islamist militant group al-Shabaab performed the attack, according to a statement on its website. “The mujahideen forces carried out the attacks and they will intensify their attacks against the government of Somalia and the African Union troops in the country,” the group said.
Somalia’s government, backed by an almost 18,000-strong African Union peacekeeping force, is trying to end more than two decades of conflict including an insurgency waged by al-Shabaab since 2007 in a bid to impose strict Islamic law. While the government has gained control of Mogadishu and other areas including the port city of Kismayo from al-Shabaab since 2011, the fighters have continued to carry out attacks.
The Jazeera hotel was hit by a similar assault in 2012 during a press conference by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud and then-Kenyan Foreign Minister Sam Ongeri, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Mahamat Saleh Annadif said today in an e-mail.
That strike killed one African Union peacekeeper and injured several Somali security officials, he said.
Mohamoud was elected in 2012 to lead the 16th attempt to establish an effective national authority in Somalia since 1991, when warring clans ousted dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.
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