Blood spattered utensils, bullet-pocked walls and overturned chairs mark the reception area of a prominent hotel in the Somali capital following an attack by Islamic extremists that killed at least 24, including six attackers.
Somali special forces stood over three bloodied bodies of the alleged attackers after officials declared they have full control of the Maka Al-Mukarramah Hotel Saturday, more than 12 hours after gunmen, believed to be six in number, from the Islamic rebel group al-Shabab stormed into the hotel.
The gunfire has stopped and security agents have gone through the whole building, said senior police officer Capt. Mohamed Hussein. He had earlier said the gunmen were believed to have occupied the third and fourth floors of the hotel in the capital Mogadishu.
"The operation has ended. We have taken full control of the hotel," Hussein said.
Eighteen people were killed in the attack, including one solider, said Hussein. At least 28 were wounded, according to Hussein Ali, an official of Mogadishu's ambulance service.
Officials claimed to have killed six attackers but only displayed the bodies of three and did not give the location of the bodies of the other attackers. Al-Shabab claimed some of the gunmen involved in the attack escaped, in a statement released Saturday. The group vowed to carry out more attacks.
Somalia's ambassador to Switzerland and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva, Yusuf Bari-Bari was among those killed in the attack, said Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
Al-Shabab, an al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremist group that has carried out many attacks in Somalia, claimed responsibility for the assault on the hotel, which is popular with Somali government officials and foreigners.
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