Somali authorities have ended a deadly attack on a hotel in the capital in which at least 21 people were killed.
It took Somali forces more than 30 hours to contain the gunmen who had stormed Mogadishu’s Hayat Hotel on Friday evening in an assault that started with loud explosions.
Police commissioner Abdi Hassan Hijar said the siege ended at around midnight on Sunday.
“During the attack, the security forces rescued many civilians trapped in the hotel, including women and children,” he said.
Police have not yet given a detailed explanation of how the attack unfolded, and it remains unclear how many gunmen entered the hotel.
Ismail Abdi, the hotel’s manager, said the siege has ended but security forces were still working to clear the area.
No more gunfire could be heard after 9am local time on Sunday, and onlookers gathered outside the gates of the badly damaged hotel.
The Islamic extremist group al-Shabab, which has ties with al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest of its frequent attempts to strike places visited by government officials.
The attack on the hotel is the first major terror incident in Mogadishu since Somalia’s new leader, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, took over in May.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the attack, according to a spokesman’s statement that said the UN supports the people of Somalia “in their fight against terrorism and their march towards peace”.