Al-Shabab attack targets hotel in southern Somalia

Security forces and others walk in front of the damaged Hayat Hotel in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia on Aug 21, 2022. A suicide car bomb attack targets the Tawakal Hotel in Somalia's southern town of Kismayo on Oct 23, 2022, sparking an exchange of fire between Al-Shabab terror group and security forces. (FARAH ABDI WARSAMEH / AP)

MOGADISHU – A suicide car bomb attack targeted a popular hotel in Somalia's southern town of Kismayo on Sunday, the police said.

Jubaland deputy police chief Mohamed Nasi Guled said the attackers stormed the Tawakal Hotel located in Kismayo town with a vehicle laden with explosives, sparking an exchange of fire between the militants and security forces.

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This AP graphic dated Oct 23, 2022 shows the map of Somalia locating Kismayo. Police say gunmen have stormed a hotel in the center of the port city, shortly after an explosives-packed car exploded at the hotel’s gates.

Guled, who did not confirm the number of casualties, appealed for calm, saying security forces would soon restore order at the hotel frequented by the government and politicians.

"We will shortly deal with the terrorists who are three in number," he told journalists, noting that students are among the casualties.

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Al-Shabab terror group which is fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government claimed responsibility for the attack on the heavily guarded hotel.