Mogadishu hotel raided by Shabaab

Yesterday, Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa, launched a suicide assault on a popular hotel in Mogadishu which left at least five people dead.

According to local reporting, a team of five Shabaab gunmen dressed in Somali military uniforms, stormed the SYL Hotel yesterday night. Somali security forces then responded, prompting a nearly eight hour battle for control over the hotel.

At least five people, including two members of the security forces and three civilians, were killed in the attack. Somali officials reported that all five gunmen were also killed.

Shabaab quickly claimed credit for the assault. In a statement released online, the jihadist group alleged that “the eight hour long siege resulted in more than 25 apostate fatalities among them senior officials, military and police officers, presidential guards, government employees, and secret intelligence agents.”

It goes on to claim that “more than half [of the fatalities] were inflicted upon the Turkish-trained apostate militia.”

The SYL Hotel, which sits near the presidential palace, is a popular hotel among Somali officials. It is also commonly targeted by Shabaab. In Feb. 2016, the hotel was hit by an assault utilizing a suicide bombing.

Almost a year earlier, Shabaab claimed credit for a bombing at the hotel that killed three people. The attack took place as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and a delegation were at the hotel.

Targeting hotels has been a common tactic for Shabaab for the past several years. Just this year, it has assaulted the Maka al Mukamara hotel in Mogadishu and the Asasey Hotel in the southern Somali city of Kismayo.

Caleb Weiss is an editor of FDD's Long War Journal and a senior analyst at the Bridgeway Foundation, where he focuses on the spread of the Islamic State in Central Africa.

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