Dozens dead in attack on Somalia's Kismayo hotel

At least 26 people were killed, including a prominent Canadian-Somali journalist and several foreigners, officials said.

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By Associated Press and Linda Givetash

MOGADISHU, Somalia — More than two dozen people were killed in an attack on a hotel in Somalia, local authorities said Saturday.

A prominent Canadian-Somali journalist and several foreigners were among 26 dead after Somali forces ended an all-night siege on the hotel in the southern port city of Kismayo, officials said.

Those killed include three Kenyans, three Tanzanians, two Americans, one Canadian and one Briton, said Ahmed Madobe, the president of Jubbaland regional state which controls Kismayo.

Fifty-six people, including two Chinese, were injured in the hotel attack, he told reporters.

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Somalia's Islamic extremist rebels, al-Shabab, claimed responsibility for the attack. NBC News has not verified their claim.

The State Department has not confirmed the deaths of any Americans.

At least four al-Shabab assailants attacked the Asasey Hotel Friday evening, beginning with a suicide car bomb at the entrance gate and followed by an assault by gunmen who stormed the hotel, which is frequented by politicians, patrons and lawmakers.

The attack lasted more than 14 hours before troops shot dead all attackers inside the hotel compound, Col. Abdiqadir Nur, a local police officer, told The Associated Press.

One of the attackers was captured by authorities, Jubbaland's ministry of telecommunications later told NBC News in a statement.

Al-Shabab, which is allied to al Qaeda, often uses car bombs to infiltrate heavily fortified targets like the hotel in Kismayo, which has been relatively quiet in recent years.

Thousands of al-Shabab fighters operate in the country, controlling areas to the center and south, while a small presence of fighters linked to Islamic State operate in the north.

As of January, U.S. Africa Command said the Pentagon had about 500 personnel in Somalia, including troops, civilians and contractors. The U.S. has carried out a campaign of airstrikes in recent years targeting militant training camps and al-Shabab leaders.

However, senior U.S. officials have told NBC News there are plans to scale back the military's role in the country as part of President Donald Trump's agenda to cut the number of troops deployed around the world.

Reuters and Charlene Gubash contributed.