Al-Shabab militants storm hotel in Somalia

At least nine people dead after Al-Shabab militant group attacks hotel in Mogadishu that is frequented by government officials and business executives 

Al-Shabab militants stormed the SYL hotel on Friday
Al-Shabab militants stormed the SYL hotel on Friday

Gunmen from the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab stormed a hotel in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, leaving at least nine people dead.

A police official Capt. Mohamed Hussein said that a suicide bomber rammed his car into the SYL hotel's entrance on Friday evening, and that some gunmen entered the premises after an exchange of gunfire with hotel guards.

An explosion also targeted a popular park known as the Peace Garden. Police say the attack is now over after they shot and killed four attackers.

"My sister, class mates and I were taking pictures at the peace garden when the car bomb hit the gate of the park," eyewitness Halima Nur told Reuters. "We all rushed through the back gates," she added.

The SYL hotel, which is located across from presidential palace in Mogadishu, is frequented by government officials and business executives.

Despite being pushed out of Somalia's major cities and towns, Al-Shabab continues to launch deadly guerrilla attacks across the Horn of Africa, and has carried out attacks on three of the five countries contributing troops to the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia.

The al-Qaida-affiliated group has also carried out several deadly attacks inside Kenya, including one in 2013 on the upscale Westgate Mall in the capital of Nairobi in which 67 people were killed.

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