Somali forces end 30-hour siege on hotel, free trapped civilians

Somali authorities on Sunday ended a deadly attack in which at least 20 people were killed and many others wounded when gunmen stormed a hotel in the capital.

It took Somali forces more than 30 hours to prevent fighters from storming Mogadishu’s Hayat Hotel on Friday night in an attack that began with loud explosions.

The siege ended around midnight, police commissioner Abdi Hassan Hijar told reporters.

“During the attack, security forces rescued many civilians trapped in the hotel, including women and children,” he said.

Damage is seen at the top of the Hayat Hotel after gunmen stormed the building. (Farah Abdi Warsameh/The Associated Press)

Police have yet to provide a detailed explanation of how the attack took place. It remains unclear how many gunmen entered the hotel.

Ismail Abdi, the hotel manager, told The Associated Press that security forces were still working to clear the area.

Security forces and the media watched the destruction of the hotel on Sunday. (Farah Abdi Warsameh/The Associated Press)

Onlookers gathered outside the gates of the damaged hotel on Sunday morning, surveying the scene.

The Islamic extremist group al-Shabaab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest in its frequent attempts to strike areas visited by government officials.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned the attack, according to a statement from a spokesman who said the UN supports the people of Somalia “in their fight against terrorism and their march towards peace.”