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Al-Shabab gunmen storm Somali hotel, kill 15

Somali security officials inspect the scene of an attack at the Hayat Hotel in Mogadishu on Saturday. Photo by Said Warsame/EPA-EFE
Somali security officials inspect the scene of an attack at the Hayat Hotel in Mogadishu on Saturday. Photo by Said Warsame/EPA-EFE

Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Gunmen stormed a hotel in the Somali capital of Mogadishu Friday, killing 15 people during the gunfire and large explosions at the facility.

The Somalia Guardian reported that the conflict at the Hayat Hotel began Friday night and continued into Saturday. The fighting was between government troops and supporters of the militant group al-Shabab, which claimed responsibility for the attack.

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The Guardian reported that troops used explosives to demolish part of the compound while some members of Parliament and others trapped inside.

The gunmen rushed the hotel, the upscale establishment often frequented by lawmakers and government officials.

Police Maj. Farah Hussein said authorities regained most of the control of the hotel from the suspects by Saturday morning. The al Qaida-linked al-Shabab said, though, they had taken several politicians as hostages.

"They did not mention the names of the officials, but the group often carries out such attacks in the capital, Mogadishu, and many parts of the country," Hussein Mohamed, a freelance journalist, told Al Jazeera.

The United States has returned to Somalia militarily under President Joe Biden after former President Donald Trump withdrew from the country. An airstrike by the U.S. military killed 13 al-Shabab members.

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It was not clear if the airstrike was the catalyst for Friday's hotel raid by al-Shabab.

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