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Somalian special forces end al-Shabab hotel siege

SOMALIAN special-forces ended a siege at a hotel in the capital Mogadishu yesterday morning in which at least 16 people were killed.

The beachside Elite Hotel was stormed by armed al-Shabab jihadists after a car bomb exploded outside.

Once inside the hotel, owned by a former MP, the al-Qaida-affiliated group seized hostages.

“The mujahideen have launched an operation consisting of martyrdom [suicide bombing] and a commando raid against a hotel belonging to an MP from the apostate group [the Somali government],” a statement purporting to be from the Islamists said soon after.

An official from the Somalian defence ministry and a senior official from the information ministry were among the dead.

A four-hour gun battle ensued in which all the jihadists were killed, government spokesman Ismael Mukhtaar Omar confirmed.

More than 200 hotel guests were rescued in the operation.

Al-Shabab has increased attacks in Somalia over recent months. It had been driven out of the capital by Somalian and African Union forces.

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