Somalia Death Toll Rises to 25 In Suicide Bomb Attack at Hotel


The death toll in an attack by suicide bombers at a hotel compound in Mogadishu on Friday rose to 25 people, with more than 40 people wounded, Somali officials said Saturday.

The Shabab, a rebel group, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that the intended targets were government ministers and lawmakers who had gathered at the Central Hotel in Mogadishu for a prayer service ahead of a national holiday.

“As soon as the prayers finished, a huge explosion happened,” said Salaad Ali Jelle, a former government minister. “Then another explosion followed at the entrance of the mosque. I jumped over several dead bodies, but I survived.”

The attack left 25 people dead, including two lawmakers, the deputy governor of Banadir and members of the prime minister’s staff, according to a statement from the office of the prime minister. The deputy prime minister, Mohamed Omar Arte, who was among the wounded, flew to Turkey on Saturday for treatment.

“We will continue fighting terrorism until we completely eliminate it,” President Hassan Sheik Mohamed said. “I am sure this attack proves the hypocrisy of the terrorist group who claim to be acting in the name of religion, while carrying out acts that are completely un-Islamic.”

Shabab militants have carried out recent attacks against Somali government officials, including Monday’s shooting deaths of at least threecivil authority workers here in Mogadishu.

The special representative of the United Nations for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, and the United States special representative for Somalia, James P. McAnulty, condemned Friday’s attack.

“This attack exemplifies the menace that Al Shabab poses to all Somalis,” Mr. McAnulty said.

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