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Somali security officers assess the scene of a suicide car bomb explosion, at the gate of Naso Hablod Two Hotel in Hamarweyne district of Mogadishu

Somali forces end hotel siege after deadly blast

Somali forces took control of a Mogadishu hotel on Sunday, following a 12-hour standoff with five assailants who entered the building after a truck bomb killed at least 23 people nearby.

Three of the attackers were killed during the standoff and two more were taken into custody, Somali military officials said. The al Qaeda-linked militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack.

Police said a series of explosions took place inside the hotel as the heavily armed assailants opened fire and hurled grenades. At least one of the attackers detonated a suicide vest. Several people including women and children were reported to be killed during the onslaught.

The assault began Saturday afternoon in front of the Nasa-Hablod hotel when a truck bomb detonated, destroying vehicles and tearing down walls of nearby buildings, the Associated Press reported. At least 23 people, including several police officers, were killed by the explosion, though the death toll was expected to rise.

The siege comes two weeks after another another truck bomb killed more than 350 people in a bustling section of Mogadishu.

Somali officials on Sunday fired the country’s police and intelligence chiefs and have recently called for more support from surrounding countries.

In a statement released online, the U.S. Mission to Somalia condemned the attack.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those injured and killed, particularly the families of government and security officials who perished in the attack,” the statement read. “The United States remains committed to work with our Somali, African Union, and international partners to degrade and defeat terrorism as Somalia continues on a path to stability and prosperity for its people.”

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