Islamic extremists blew up the gate of a Somali hotel with a car bomb and took over the building for more than 14 hours, leaving 26 people dead before Somali forces who besieged the hotel overnight killed the attackers, the AP reports. The victims included a prominent Canadian-Somali journalist. Three Kenyans, three Tanzanians, two Americans, and a Briton also were among the dead, said a regional official; fifty-six people, including two Chinese, were injured in the hotel attack, he told reporters. 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.
The attack lasted more than 14 hours before troops shot dead all attackers inside the hotel compound, according to a local police officer. Somalia's Islamic extremist rebels, al-Shabab, claimed responsibility for the attack. Al-Shabab, which is allied to al-Qaeda, often uses car bombs to infiltrate heavily fortified targets like the hotel in Kismayo, which has been relatively quiet in recent years. The attack is a blow to the Somalia government's efforts to hold nation-wide, one-person one-vote elections next year. Security officials cordoned off the site of the attack and prevented journalists from taking photos or video. Canadian journalist Hodan Nalayeh and her husband, Farid Jama Suleiman, died in the attack.
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