Nine people, including a British man, have reportedly been killed after Al Shabab gunmen wearing suicide vests attacked one of the most secure hotels in the Somalian capital.
The jihadist group launched a complex attack on the Villa Rose Hotel on Sunday evening, described locally as the “best defended” hotel in Mogadishu.
Local journalists reported that Mohamed Sayid Hassan Elmi, who was from Birmingham and was visiting the troubled East African nation, is one of the victims.
However, the UK Foreign Office has not confirmed whether or not a British citizen had been killed.
A Somali Police spokesperson said in a statement on Monday evening that the siege was over and they had killed six militants, and that eight civilians and one soldier were killed in the attack. They said more than 50 people had been successfully rescued from the hotel.
The Telegraph understands that CIA-trained troops and Turkish-trained paramilitary units led efforts to flush the militants out of the besieged hotel.
Abdi Hassan, a government worker who lives near the hotel, told the Associated Press that he believes several government officials were inside the hotel when the attack started. He said some were seen jumping the perimeter wall to safety.
Another eyewitness described hearing a “huge blast, followed by a heavy exchange of gunfire”.
“We were shaken,” Ahmed Abdullahi, who lives close to the scene, said. “We are just indoors, listening to gunfire.”
The jihadi group also conducted an assault on the heavily fortified presidential palace nearby.
The news comes after a flare-up in fighting between the elected Somalian government in Mogadishu and Al-Shabab, which effectively runs a parallel state across vast tracts of the south and centre of the country.
Millions in the country are perched on the edge of famine after four failed rainy seasons and food price rises since Russia invaded Ukraine.
International aid organisations say that a child is now dying every minute from hunger in the country, but that they are struggling to reach areas controlled by the militant group.