An Islamist siege on a hotel in Mogadishu has ended, with at least 29 people dead. The attack began with a car bomb that broke down the fortified building's defenses. Lucy Fielder reports
A prolonged Islamist siege on a hotel in the Somali capital ended on Sunday (October 29). At least 29 people were killed in the attack that began when a car bomb rammed the gates of the Mogadishu hotel late afternoon, breaking down its defences. Then gunmen stormed the building. The hotel was close to the presidential palace. Like others in the city, it was fortified and some Somali officials lived there for safety. At least 12 of the dead were police officers. Al Shabaab militants claimed responsibility for the attack. Two of the perpetrators blew themselves up after they were shot; three were caught alive. It's feared others may have been rescued from the hotel disguised as guests. Saturday's explosion demolished the front of the hotel and damaged another next door. Al Shabaab wants to overthrow Somalia's weak, U.N.-backed government and impose a strict form of Islamic law. Two weeks ago, twin bombings in Mogadishu killed at least 358 people, the worst such attack in the country's history. Al Shabaab didn't claim that one, but the method - a large truck bomb - is one it has often used.