At least 20 people are dead following an attack by unknown gunmen one an upscale hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu, with reports of showers of gunfire and large explosions in the area.
Police Major Yasin Haji said at least 50 others have been injured in the attack on the Hayat Hotel, which is ongoing.
A number of hostages have been taken and the gunmen are still firing at security from inside the hotel, making a difficult task of securing the hotel.
“It took us over 24 hours to end the terrorist siege at Hayat Hotel because the attackers took civilians as hostages and used them as human shields. We cleared the first and top floors. But they are still in the middle two floors,” Haji said.
Medics treating injured victims say that the death toll is likely to increase with many victims in critical condition. Most of the injured were taking to Medina hospital, which is still receiving more admissions from the attack.
Police Major Farah Hussein confirmed that Somali security forces had entered the hotel and were close to bringing the situation under control. Two security officials were wounded in the attack.
The Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack in an online statement. The claim of responsibility has not yet been independently verified.