Somalia: Somali Security Forces Kill 5 Al Shaabab Fighters to End Hotel Siege

Somali security forces shot dead five Al Shabab gunmen, who had killed five people including two soldiers in an attack on a hotel near the presidential residence in Mogadishu on Tuesday night.

Police said on Wednesday that Al Shabaab, an al Qaeda linked Islamist militant group, frequently launches bombing and gun raids in Mogadishu in a bid to topple Somalia's UN-backed government.

The group confirmed last night it had attacked the Syl hotel, a popular gathering place for officials and lawmakers.

The latest attack started at around 7 pm on Tuesday and ended at about 1 am on Wednesday when all five attackers had been killed, deputy police commissioner-general Zakia Hussein said in a statement on Twitter.

"The security forces ended the operation. Five people including three civilians and two soldiers died in the attack," Hussein said.

"Eleven others were slightly injured, including nine civilians and two soldiers," she added.

Hussein had said on Tuesday night that 82 people, including several officials, had been rescued from the Syl hotel.

Security officers had initially mistaken the gunmen for the police until they began shooting and throwing grenades, another police officer said on Tuesday.

Al Shabaab's military spokesman Abdiaziz Abu Musab said on Tuesday that the group's fighters were behind the attack at the hotel compound near the presidential palace.

Somalia, in the horn of Africa, has been embroiled in conflict and chaos since 1991, when clan-based warlords overthrew a dictator then turned on each other.

Al Shaabab, which once controlled much of the country, was forced out of Mogadishu in 2011 and has since lost most of its other strongholds.

But its fighters regularly attack sites in Somalia and neighboring Kenya, which has troops in Somalia.

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