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Over 19 Killed in Hotel Attack in Somalia's Capital


Early Thursday, Somali security forces ended a nightlong siege by al-Shabab extremists at the popular Pizza House restaurant in the country's capital.

Islamic extremists attacked a popular Somalia restaurant in an overnight siege and killed 31 people - many at point-blank range - before they were slain by security forces, police said Thursday.

'A mujahid (fighter) with his suicide auto bomb martyred himself after he rammed into Posh Hotel, which is a nightclub.

District police chief Abdi Bashir told Reuters Somali security forces took back control of the restaurant at midnight after the gunmen had held hostages inside for several hours. Five of the gunmen were killed, Bashir added.

"So far, we can confirm that nine people - mostly women who were hotel staff - have died", police officer Mohamed Hussein told Reuters.

The Somali-based al-Qaeda affiliated group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack.

Gunmen were also holding at least 20 people hostage in a restaurant, police said.

In this image taken from video footage, an ambulance is seen near the scene of an attack in a restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. "They were killing people on sight", said Saida Hussein, a university student who survived the attack by hiding behind a large table on the ground floor.

Al Shabaab claimed responsibility.

"Blood splattered across my clothes, and I had a piece of flesh on me, as people sitting around me were either dead or wounded", Said Yare, a customer of Pizza House restaurant, told dpa.

The US military also confirmed its special forces killed eight al-Shabaab fighters in an airstrike conducted in southern Somalia on Sunday. Capt Hussein said all five attackers were killed.

Police said numerous victims were killed at point-blank range.

The strike was targeted at a command and logistics section of a Shabab camp according to the military, and follows President Donald Trump's initiative to carry out strikes in Somalia without a specific self-defense rationale, says New York Times.

The East African country has been hit by armed conflict since 1991 when clan-based warlords overthrew dictator Siad Barre and then turned on each other.

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