A view showing the ruins of part of the Hotel Hayat in Mogadishu, Somalia on August 20, 2022.Reuters/Faisal Omar

MOGADISHU: Somali forces have ended a siege at a hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu, an army officer told Reuters on Sunday, adding they were still clearing up explosives scattered around the building.

At least 12 people, mostly civilians, were killed as Somalia’s elite forces fought for 30 hours after al-Qaeda-linked militants blew up and opened fire on the Hayat Hotel on Friday night.

Military officer Muhammad Ali, who was present at the scene, said: “We are still investigating the explosion of the many plastic bags scattered around the hotel.

French news agency Agence France-Presse previously reported, citing a security force commander, that the shooters were all dead.

Friday’s attack was the first such serious incident since President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took office in May.

The al-Shabaab group, which has ties to al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Al-Shabaab has been fighting to overthrow the government of Somalia for over a decade. He wants to establish his own rules based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

The Hayat is a popular hotel with lawmakers and government officials.

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