The al Qaeda linked terror group al-Shabaab has carried out a suicide attack and stormed a central Mogadishu hotel frequented by Somalia’s ministers and members of parliament, Somali police said Sunday.
Al-Shabaab stormed the Villa Rose hotel near Somalia’s presidential palace following a suicide bombing at the gate at 8 p.m. local time (noon ET), according to police.
Capt. Bishar Ahmed confirmed to CNN that a major attack occurred at the hotel, which lies in a heavily protected zone in downtown Mogadishu, where the state house, ministries and a high-security intelligence prison are also located.
Adam Aw Hirsi, the state minister for the environment, said he escaped the attack.
Police have not released details on the number of casualties. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack.
Somalia’s armed forces, backed by the United States, have been carrying out a military campaign against the group since August in parts of southern and central Somalia.
In May, US President Joe Biden decided to redeploy troops to Somalia in support of the local government and to counter al-Shabaab. The move reversed a decision by former President Donald Trump to withdraw all US troops from the country.