Muslim Terrorists Strike Somalia
A total of 14 people, mostly young revelers who were entering the restaurant as the attack began to unfold, died as a result, police said. The number includes two neutralized hostage takers and a Syrian man, police officer Mohamed Hussein said, gunmen stormed into a restaurant adjacent to the hotel, taking hostages. Police managed to shoot dead two attackers.
He said that a terrorist drove his car into the entrance of the Posh Hotel in the center of the city.
Police, cited by AP, said that following the blast, the gunmen got into the Pizza House, taking dozens of visitors hostage.
The police later said that at least 20 people were being held by the terrorists.
Police said they had rescued 10 people from the besieged restaurant, but an unknown number of hostages are still trapped inside.
“The fighters are still inside the Pizza House (restaurant) and they are holding over 20 people. We do not know how many of those are dead or alive,” said Major Ibrahim Hussein, as cited by Reuters.
Witnesses said that they heard gunfire on the scene, with the city center area remaining cordoned off by the police.
The al-Qaeda-aligned terror group Al Shabaab has already taken responsibility for the attack.
Suicide bombing and gun attacks in Mogadishu have become Al Shabaab signature tactics after it was forced to retreat into remote rural areas by African Union peacekeepers.
The Battle for Somalia
US and Somali forces have conducted a joint operation against the Islamist group al-Shabaab, destroying a major training camp and command outpost days after a deadly attack on a military base in northern Somalia.
The compound was located near Sakow, in the Middle Juba region in southern Somalia where al-Shabaab is known to operate.
“On June 11, at approximately 2 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, the Department of Defense conducted a strike operation against al-Shabaab in Somalia,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement on Sunday. “The operation occurred approximately 185 miles southwest of Mogadishu. The US conducted this operation in coordination with its regional partners as a direct response to al-Shabaab actions, including recent attacks on Somali forces.”
Eight militants are said to have been killed in the strike, which was carried out by a drone, an American official told Reuters.
The joint operation was carried out under new powers authorized to the Pentagon by President Donald Trump in March. It designates parts of Somalia as an “Area of Active Hostility,” giving the military more power to strike targets they believe to be linked to al-Shabaab.
The US military is also mandated to work with AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia) and local Somali forces which helped carry out the raid.