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Somali forces end extremist siege of Kismayo hotel; 18 dead

PTI | Mogadishu | Updated: 13-07-2019 14:10 IST | Created: 13-07-2019 14:01 IST
Somali forces end extremist siege of Kismayo hotel; 18 dead
Image Credit: Wikipedia

Somali forces Saturday morning ended an all-night siege on a hotel in the southern port city of Kismayo as the death toll has risen to 18 people, including a prominent Canadian-Somali journalist, officials say. At least four al-Shabab assailants attacked the Asasey Hotel Friday evening, beginning with a suicide car bomb at the entrance gate and followed by an assault by gunmen who stormed the hotel, which is frequented by politicians, patrons, and lawmakers.

At least 40 people were injured in the attack which lasted more than 14 hours before troops shot dead all attackers inside the hotel compound, Col. Abdiqadir Nur, a local police officer, told The Associated Press. Somalia's Islamic extremist rebels, al-Shabab, claimed responsibility for the attack. Al-Shabab, which is allied to al-Qaida, often uses car bombs to infiltrate heavily fortified targets like the hotel in Kismayo, which has been relatively quiet in recent years.

Canadian journalist Hodan Nalayeh and her husband, Farid Jama Suleiman, died in the attack, Mogadishu-based independent radio station Radio Dalsan confirmed to The Associated Press. "I'm absolutely devastated by the news of the death of our dear sister Hodan Nalayeh and her husband in a terrorist attack in Somalia today. What a loss to us. Her beautiful spirit shined through her work and the way she treated people," Omar Suleiman, a Texas-based imam who knew the victim, wrote on social media.

Nalayeh was born in Somalia in 1976, but spent most of her life in Canada, first in Alberta and then in Toronto. She founded Integration TV, an international web-based video production company aimed at Somali viewers around the world. She was the first Somali woman media owner in the world.


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