By Faith Karimi (CNN),
A SIEGE that started with gunmen detonating a bomb and spraying bullets in a hotel in Somalia ended early Saturday with at least 20 people dead, authorities said.
The attack, which lasted hours, began when gunmen raided the hotel in Mogadishu on Friday evening.
Yusuf Mohamed Ismail Bari-Bari, Somalia’s permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, was among those killed in the attack, the Somali government said.
It started about 5 p.m. local time when a car bomb exploded at the hotel’s entrance, according to witness Aden Hussein, who said he was nearby when the blast happened.
Gunmen then stormed into the hotel and opened fire, Hussein said.
One of the attackers, who was wearing a belt with explosives, blew himself up inside the hotel, police Capt. Ahmed Abdi said.
The hotel is along a highway leading to the country’s presidential palace. It is popular with lawmakers, journalists and business people.
Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility, saying it targeted the hotel because its guests are spies and government officials.
The terror group has been active in Somalia for years.
Initially, its goal was implementing a stricter form of Islamic law, or Sharia, by warring against the Somali government. It has since shifted its focus to launching terror attacks in Somalia and beyond.
— Rachel Nicholson (@re_nicholson) March 27, 2015