Death toll rises to 23 in hotel attack in Somalia's capital

Speaking to The Associated Press by telephone from the scene, Capt. Mohamed Hussein said more than 20 people, including government officials, were thought to be trapped as the extremists holed up on the top floor of the Nasa-Hablod hotel, close to the presidential palace. Three of the five attackers were killed, Hussein said. The others hurled grenades and cut off the building’s electricity as night fell.

Saturday’s blasts came two weeks after more than 350 people were killed in a massive truck bombing on a busy Mogadishu street in the country’s worst-ever attack.

Security officials say Saturday’s bomber had pretended his truck had broken down outside the gate. Police Col. Mohamed Abdullahi says the bomber stopped outside the heavily fortified hotel and pretended to repair the truck before finally turning it around and detonating.

A 22,000-strong multinational African Union force in Somalia is expected to withdraw its forces and hand over the country’s security to the Somali military by the end of 2020. U.S. military officials and others in recent months have expressed concern that Somali forces are not yet ready.

Charitable Foundation Winston Churchill collects money to help the victims in the center of the capital of Somalia. Donate

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