Al-Shabaab militants set off car bombs outside two hotels in Somalia’s capital on Friday, triggering a gun battle with security forces, according to police.
The insurgents attacked the Wehliye hotel in central Mogadishu, where government officials often stay, leaving five civilians and three attackers dead, police officer Elmi Hussein said in a phone interview. Casualty figures haven’t yet been confirmed from another assault at the Siad hotel near the presidential palace, he said.
In another incident, attackers threw grenades at an African Union peacekeeping base housed in a stadium in Mogadishu, he said.
Al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the hotel attacks on its radio station. The group is trying to overthrow the Western-backed government in Somalia and establish a strict version of Islamic law.
The attackers struck in the evening when Muslims begin to break their fast in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.