Al-Qaida-linked terrorist group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility via the radio for the car bombings and shootings that ripped through a hotel in Mogadishu, on Wednesday. There is no exact death toll yet, some agencies reporting as many as 28 dead. More than three dozen people have been confirmed wounded, including 7 journalists. The hotel is reported to be a popular place of short-term residence for politicians, located less than a mile from the Somali Parliament building. Somalia has recently sworn in a new Parliament and is in the planning stages of a presidential election, so the possibility of the attack being politically motivated is high.
The attack on the Dayah Hotel was carried about through two car bombs blasted within minutes of each other to gain access to the hotel, sending people fleeing from the scene through the rubble. Armed militants from the terrorist group stormed the hotel on foot after the bombs went off, forcing residents to hide under beds and jump out 4th story windows to avoid them. It is reported by survivors that the gunmen posed as rescue workers to get frightened residents to come out their rooms, killing them when they did. Senior government official Abdirizak Omar Mohamed confirmed to BBC that the 4 militants were killed by security forces.
African Union forces succeeded in pushing al-Shabab out of Mogadishu over 5 years ago, but the group returned and continued to mount attacks there. The Dayah Hotel is not the first victim of attacks by Al-Shabab, and not the first hotel victim either. At least 12 were killed in a similar attack on the Nasa Hablod hotel, also located in Mogadishu. The attack was carried out in a similar fashion, militants storming the hotel to take hostages after setting off car bombs.