gunmen storm mogadishu hotel trapping government officials

An extremist group, Al Shabab, claimed responsibility for the attack in the Somali capital. The siege was still underway on Monday morning.

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Gunmen wearing suicide vests and believed to be members of a militant group attacked a hotel popular with government officials in the capital of Somalia on Sunday, according to the police.

There were no immediate reports of casualties, but security forces rescued dozens of civilians and officials, including the fisheries minister, from the hotel, the Villa Rose. Others remained trapped inside.

The militant group, Al Shabab, claimed responsibility for the attack. The group also said its fighters were conducting an assault on Somalia’s presidential palace, which is near the hotel.

On Monday morning, security forces were still battling the militants, with gunfire and at least one loud explosion heard. The police had yet to release any information about casualties. Several people wrote on Facebook that members of their families had been killed.

The number of attackers was not immediately clear. Al Shabab has frequently targeted hotels where government officials gather or reside.

Some government officials were rescued after escaping through windows, the police told reporters on Sunday. Among those rescued was the country’s minister of fisheries, Abdilahi Bidhan Warsame, and a senator, Dunia Mohamed.

Local news reports said that the internal security minister, Mohamed Doodishe, was injured in the attack. The reports could not be independently verified.

Adam Aw Hirsi, the state minister for the environment, wrote on Twitter that he was safe after a “terrorist explosion targeted” his residence at the hotel, where many government officials are known to stay.

On Friday, Shabaab militants attacked a military base in the village of Qayib, in the central Galgaduud region, a government minister told reporters, prompting violent clashes as the army tried to repel them.

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