Militants Storm Hotel in Somali Capital, Kill 31

August 24, 2010

Associated Press

MOGADISHU, Somalia — A homicide bomber and gunmen stormed a hotel in Somalia’s capital on Tuesday, killing at least 31 people including members of parliament in an attack that set off an hour-long gun battle, a military spokesman and a witness said.

A parliamentarian who was at the Muna hotel said there were “dead bodies all over” and he labeled the scene a massacre.

The assault comes after Somalia’s most dangerous militant group, al-Shabab, declared a “massive war” on “invaders” — an apparent reference to the 6,000 troops from the African Union that protect the weak Somali government.

African Union spokesman Maj. Barigye Bahoku said six members of parliament were killed in the attack on the Muna hotel, located a half-mile from Somalia’s presidential palace. Parliamentarians often live at Mogadishu hotels while in the capital city.

A statement from the government said some attackers were dressed as security forces. Somalia’s information minister called the attack “a deplorable act in this holy month of Ramadan.”

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