Death toll from Somalia hotel suicide attack reaches 25

Deputy mayor and two legislators among dead in blasts at Central Hotel in Mogadishu

The wreckage of a car destroyed in a blast is seen near the Central Hotel after a suicide attack in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu February 20th, 2015. Photograph: REUTERS/Feisal Omar

The wreckage of a car destroyed in a blast is seen near the Central Hotel after a suicide attack in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu February 20th, 2015. Photograph: REUTERS/Feisal Omar

 

The death toll from a suicide attack at a hotel in the Somali capital yesterday has risen to 25 and 40 wounded, the Somali government said.

A statement from prime minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke’s office said an Islamic extremist rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into the gate of the Central Hotel, and another entered the building, detonating another bomb.

Government officials were meeting at the hotel at the time, and the statement says Mogadishu’s deputy mayor and two legislators are among the dead.

It is unclear whether the 25 dead included the two bombers.

Al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants claimed responsibility for the attack.

Despite the loss of key strongholds in Somalia, al-Shabab continues to stage attacks in the capital and elsewhere.

Somalia’s president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud condemned the attack and said it would not derail efforts by his government to restore peace to Somalia, which is recovering from decades of war.

This is the second attack on a hotel in Mogadishu in less than a month.

On January 22nd, three Somali nationals were killed when a suicide car bomber blew himself up at the gate of a hotel housing the advance party of the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who visited the country days later.

Al-Shabab controlled much of Mogadishu during the years 2007 to 2011, but was pushed out of Somalia’s capital and other major cities by African Union forces.

PA