Gunmen from the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab forced their way into a hotel in the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Friday, the AP reports. A suicide bomber rammed his car into the SYL hotel's entrance and gunmen entered the premises after an exchange of gunfire with hotel guards, one police official says. "I saw 12 dead civilians, but the toll may well be higher," says another. According to the AP, there could be as many as 14 dead. Al-Shabab Islamic extremists claimed responsibility for the attack.
The SYL hotel, which is located across from the presidential palace in Mogadishu, is frequented by government officials and business executives. Despite being pushed out of Somalia's major cities and towns, al-Shabab continues to launch deadly guerrilla attacks across the Horn of Africa, and even across the border. Al-Shabab has carried out attacks on three of the five countries contributing troops to the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia. The al-Qaeda-linked group has carried out many deadly attacks inside Kenya as well, including one in 2013 on the upscale Westgate Mall in the capital of Nairobi in which 67 people were killed. (Read more Somalia stories.)