Newspaper article International New York Times

Islamists Attack Elite Somalia Hotel ; Car Bombs and Gunfire in Assault Claimed by Shabab Kill at Least 10

Newspaper article International New York Times

Islamists Attack Elite Somalia Hotel ; Car Bombs and Gunfire in Assault Claimed by Shabab Kill at Least 10

Article excerpt

The Shabab, an Islamist group, claimed responsibility after fighters killed at least 10 people at the Sahafi Hotel in Mogadishu.

Islamist militants stormed a popular hotel on Sunday in the heart of Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, blowing up the front gate with a car bomb, shooting guests and hotel workers, and then battling with security forces from the hotel's rooftop for several hours.

Witnesses said at least 10 people had been killed in the attack on the Sahafi Hotel, and the assault was immediately -- and gleefully -- laid claim to by the Shabab militant group.

If there is one hotel everyone knows in Mogadishu, it is the Sahafi. Warlords and militants alike used to hang out in the lounge and courtyard, sipping grapefruit juice and pulling apart camel meat steaks, plotting their schemes.

Sahafi means journalist in Arabic, and for years the hotel has served as the gateway to one of the world's most dangerous countries for foreign journalists, aid workers, and the rare and brave businessman. Even in the hardest times, the staff managed to provide clean rooms and delicious food. Succulent lobster was one of the house specialties, served alongside mountains of French fries. More recently, the hotel was a popular rendezvous spot for officials from Somalia's fledgling government.

On Sunday morning around dawn, witnesses said, a car rammed into the Sahafi's front gate and immediately exploded. Several Shabab fighters then scrambled into the hotel, shooting guests. A second car bomb exploded two hours later, killing and wounding several journalists who had rushed to the hotel, located at a busy traffic circle in central Mogadishu, to report on the attack. One journalist was killed.

Among the other dead, witnesses said, were a Somali lawmaker, a retired Somali Army general and the hotel's owner, Abdirashid Ilgayte, who used to welcome guests into his incense-scented office just off the hotel's entrance and regale them with stories of violence and intrigue from Somalia's darkest days. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.