At least 26 killed in terrorist attack on hotel in Somalia

At least 26 killed in terrorist attack on hotel in Somalia

Islamic extremists al-Shabab, which is allied with al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the brutal attack.

A bomb and gun attack claimed by Al-Shabaab militants on the hotel. The group and government officials tend to give differing casualty numbers for attacks.

Those killed in the attack include Kenyans, Americans, a Briton and Tanzanians, Jubbaland region's president said on Saturday.

The attackers were shot dead during the fighting inside the hotel, Osman said, while the vehicle bomber died when the explosives were detonated.

"There are dead bodies and wounded people strewn inside the hotel".

"Hodan Nalayeh of Inspirational TV died in today's Kismayo twin attack earlier in the evening".

Al-Shabaab controls wide swathes of southern and central Somalia, regularly carrying out attacks that target security forces and civilians.

One of the candidates in the election died in the siege, local authorities said.

The siege lasted for nearly 12 hours and only ended on Saturday morning after clashes with security forces. TV footage showed walls peppered with bullet holes and furniture strewn across the hotel courtyard.

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The death of Hodan, 43 and Sahal, 35 becomes the first journalists killed in the country this year.

A staff member of UN's International Organization for Migration was also killed in the al-Shabab assault.

"We have confirmed the death of seven people including a former local administration minister and a lawmaker", said Abdi Dhuhul, a security official.

Nalayeh was born in Somalia in 1976, but spent most of her life in Canada, first in Edmonton and then in Toronto. Many thanked her for her inspiring coverage. "We mourn her loss deeply, and all others killed in the Kismayo attack".

The journalist was also the founder of the Somali Refugees Awareness Project, a lobby that advocates for Somali refugees across the world. Officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

(Photo: Stringer/AFP/Getty Images) A view of Asasey Hotel after an attack, in Kismayo, Somalia, Saturday July 13, 2019.

Al-Shabab was driven from the capital Mogadishu in 2011 and has since been ousted from most of its other strongholds. The East Africa-based group has been waging an ongoing effort to dismantle the Somali government and was pushed out of Kismayo in 2012, Al Jazeera reported.

Mr Nur was referring to elections in the city due some time in August.

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