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Mogadishu Blast Hits Close to Government

Five people, plus four attackers, were killed in an attack at a hotel in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Sunday, according to Somali police. The deadly siege at the Afrik hotel which left 10 other civilians injured ended after Somali security forces battled militants for eight hours. The attack began on Sunday afternoon 5 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET) with a car bombing at the gate of the hotel frequented by government officials and politicians. General Mohamed Nur Galaal — a retired veteran military officer who once served as country’s defense minister in 1991 — was among those killed in the attack, according to police. Dozens of other civilians were rescued by the security forces. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack through a statement broadcast by Andalus Radio, its mouthpiece channel. The hotel is frequented by Members of Parliament, politicians, and security officials, but not foreigners. Outside the hotel is the main security checkpoint to the airport and Halane base, which houses western missions including the US embassy. Somali President Mohamed Farmaajo and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble both condemned the attack and sent their condolences to those who lost their loved ones.