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17 dead in Somalia

People stands outside the scene of an attack on a hotel and an adjacent restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

 

By Feisal Omar | MOGADISHU

At least 19 people were killed when Islamist militants launched a car bomb and gun attack on a busy hotel and adjacent restaurant in the Somali capital, a police officer said on Thursday.

In a separate incident later in the day, at least two soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb, planted by the Islamist militant group al Shabaab, struck a car carrying government troops in Central Shabelle outside of the capital, the military said.

In the Wednesday evening attack, a car driven by a suicide bomber rammed into the Posh Hotel in south Mogadishu before gunmen rushed into Pizza House, an adjacent restaurant, and took 20 people hostage. Posh Hotel is the only venue with a discotheque in the capital.

District police chief Abdi Bashir told Reuters Somali security forces took back control of the restaurant at midnight after the gunmen had held hostages inside for several hours. Five of the gunmen were killed, Bashir said.

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