Two extremist insurgents disguised as government soldiers went on a shooting rampage in a Mogadishu hotel on Tuesday killing 30 people, including six legislators, before blowing themselves up.
The brazen attack by the Al-Qaeda-inspired Al-Shabab just a stone's throw from the presidential palace marked a new escalation on the second day of clashes that had already left 29 civilians dead across the Somali capital.
“Thirty people died in this ambush. Six of them are members of the Somali Parliament and four are Somali government civil servants,” Deputy Prime Minister Abdirahman Haji Adan Ibbi told reporters. “The 20 others are innocent civilians who died in this horrible incident.”
Witnesses and hotel staff said the attackers were wearing government security uniforms and shot dead security guards at the gate as they rushed into the three-storey building. “They rained gunfire on everybody. Nobody stood a chance. I was lucky because they aimed at me but I jumped out of the window and survived,” hotel employee Adan Mohamed told AFP.
Al-Shabab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamoud Rage claimed responsibility for the attack. “Our commando units carried out this attack,” he said. The Al-Shabab on Monday launched a major offensive against government army barracks in several Mogadishu districts, sparking clashes that left at least 29 civilians dead.