A man wounded during a suicide attack gets medical treatment at Madina Hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia, Jan. 25, 2017. The death toll in Wednesday's attack by Al-Shabaab militants on a hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu has risen to 15 while 15 other were injured, a senior official said. (Xinhua/Faisal Isse)
MOGADISHU, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- The death toll in Wednesday's attack by Al-Shabaab militants on a hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu has risen to 15 while 15 others were injured, a senior official said.
Internal Security Minister Abdirizak Omar Mohamed told journalists in Mogadishu that security officers had ended the siege at the Dayah Hotel and shot dead "all the attackers."
Two prominent Somali elders, who participated in the selection of 135 lawmakers in 2012, were among those killed in the attack. The injured have been taken to hospital.
A suicide bomber on Wednesday morning rammed his explosive-laden vehicle into the entrance of the Dayah Hotel, militants then opened fire and tried to enter the hotel.
The first explosion, according to witnesses, took place a few minutes past 08:00 a.m. local time. About 15 minutes later, another vehicle went off outside the hotel.
Witnesses and medical sources said they expected the death toll to further rise since the twin blasts were massive.
"There was a huge blast which shook the building I was in. As I came out another explosion went off," an eyewitness Yusuf Ahmed told Xinhua.
Some buildings and parked cars near the hotel were destroyed. Seven journalists from international news agencies were injured in the second blast.
Some newly-elected members of parliament were inside the hotel at the time of the attack, but a police officer earlier told Xinhua they were safe.
Located near the federal parliament building, the hotel is frequented by government officials and lawmakers.
Somalia-based extremist group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, which came at a time when the country is preparing to hold an election where lawmakers will choose a new president.
Al-Shabaab has been battling the Somali government for a decade. It has been driven out of major towns by African Union forces in the past years but still carries out frequent attacks in the country.