In pictures: Al Shabaab militants storm a hotel in Somali capital, 15 killed

People moving wounded person out of the blast scene (Photo: Goobjoog.

People moving wounded person out of the blast scene (Photo: Goobjoog)

MOGADISHU, Somalia — At least 15 people are confirmed to have been killed, more than 20 others wounded in car bomb, and gun attack on a popular hotel in Somali capital, Mogadishu on Saturday afternoon, police and witnesses said.

Saturday’s attack began when a car laden with explosives was detonated by a bomber at the gate of Nasa-hablod One hotel near  KM-4 area, a busy junction in the heart of Mogadishu, killing at least 15 people, mostly civilians.

Capt Hajji Barre, a senior Somali police officer who spoke to ArmedPolitics, said after the car bomb blast, four fighters on foot entered the hotel building and took guests  as hostages.

“The attack was huge and the blast could be heard across the city, wounded and dead people were on the ground filled with blood at the gate. I can’t describe in words what happened today in Nasa-hablod One hotel,” said a shopkeeper who runs a shop near the hotel.

The street near Nasa-hablod 1 hotel was filled with debris and blood. (Photo: Goobjoog)

Charred cars on the street near Nasa-hablod 1 hotel that was filled with debris and blood. (Photo: Goobjoog)

Ambulances rushed the wounded people to nearby hospitals for medical treatment, said the eyewitness.

Al Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack, which was one of the deadliest attack Mogadishu has seen recently since the start of the holy month of Ramadan.

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Security force members are on watching the hotel from a short distance (Photo: Goobjoog)

Security force members are on watching the hotel from a short distance (Photo: Goobjoog)

Somali government forces have blocked all the main roads near the hotel and began a rescue operation to save lives of those trapped inside the hotel and bring an end to the siege by foure Al Shabaab attackers who are holed up in the hotel.

The Al Qaeda-linked Islamic group of Al Shabaab has attacked Ambassador hotel on Makka Al Mukarama street with car bomb in 1st June, 2016 and killed at least 25 people, including two members of Somali parliament.

The militant group has threatened with more attacks in Mogadishu during Ramadan as residents trying to rebuild their city and  move out of the dark day of the two-long decade civil war that broke out in 1991.

omar
Omar Nor, ArmedPolitics

A senior reporter in-the-field covering the vast East Africa region, focusing on  political issues including scenarios of conflict. Follow Omar on Twitter at @Omaar_nor