Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Gunmen Attack Mogadishu Hotel, Somali Officials Say
By Robyn Kriel and Omar Nor, CNN
12:40 PM ET, Wed June 1, 2016

Story highlights
 Al-Shabaab claims responsibility for an attack at the Ambassador Hotel
 A gunman is dead, two others remain inside the hotel
The attack began when gunmen set off an explosion and stormed the hotel

Mogadishu, Somalia (CNN)Suspected Al-Shabaab gunmen set off an explosion and stormed a popular hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia, Wednesday, police said.

The siege at the Ambassador Hotel began after the attackers detonated a car packed with explosives at the gates of the building, according to Capt. Da'ud Hajji, a senior Somali police officer.

One of the gunmen is dead, and two others remain inside the hotel, according to a tweet from Somalia's National Intelligence & Security Agency.

Authorities have rescued 10 people and cleared out three of the hotel's four floors, according to NISA.

The Ambassador Hotel is a popular spot for Somali politicians, members of the diaspora and westerners.

Soon after the attack, Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility. Citing an unnamed commander, a statement on a website linked to Al-Shabaab said one of the group's jihadist fighters detonated a car laden with explosives at the gate, allowing armed militants to enter the building.

It's a tactic Al-Shabaab has used in past attacks, like the one at another hotel in the Somali capital last year that left 15 people dead.

Al-Shabaab aims to turn Somalia into a fundamentalist Islamic state.

The group has been blamed for attacks in Somalia that have killed international aid workers, journalists, civilian leaders and African Union peacekeepers.

What is Al-Shabaab, and what does it want?

Child soldiers captured in Somalia firefight

Journalist Omar Nor reported from Mogadishu, with CNN's Robyn Kriel reporting from Nairobi. CNN's Holly Yan, Catherine E. Shoichet, Radina Gigova and Joel Williams also contributed to this report.

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