Mogadishu was once again rocked by violence as Al-Shabaab militants stormed the Pearl Beach Hotel on Friday evening, triggering a seven-hour siege that resulted in at least 15 fatalities.
The hotel, a prominent venue frequented by officials and located on the bustling Lido Beach, was the site of coordinated explosions and gunfire by the five attackers, who were later neutralized by security forces.
Eyewitnesses reported hearing gunfire and explosions throughout the night, as dozens of civilians were evacuated from the premises. The operation to neutralize the Al-Shabaab militants was successfully concluded by Somali security forces early Saturday, according to state broadcaster reports.
“A significant number of civilians were safely evacuated during the operation,” noted the state broadcaster, adding that more detailed information about casualties and property damage is expected in the coming hours.
Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, which is part of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated group’s decade and a half-long insurgency against Somalia’s internationally recognized government.
The group frequently targets hotels, government buildings, and other high-profile targets in Mogadishu, as part of its campaign to overthrow the government and impose its own version of Islamic law.
The Pearl Beach Hotel attack is just one in a series of attacks that have rocked the country in recent years, highlighting the ongoing security challenges faced by Somalia, particularly in the capital city of Mogadishu.
The Somali government and its international partners have been working to improve the security situation in the country, but much remains to be done to ensure the safety and well-being of the Somali people.