A Shebaab attack is underway at a Mogadishu hotel, proving the Islamist extremists have the ability to continue to strike the Somali capital.

The Shebabs claimed responsibility saying they targeted “a place frequented” by officials. According to the government, it is a hotel on Lido Beach, south of Mogadishu.

Late in the evening, gunfire was still heard and ambulances were parked next to the hotel, according to an AFP reporter. “Security forces rescued many people from the building and the operation is still ongoing,” the source said.

“I was near the Pearl Beach restaurant when I heard a loud explosion outside the building. I managed to escape but then there was heavy gunfire,” said an eyewitness, Abdirahim Ali.

“The restaurant was full because it had been renovated recently,” said another witness, Yasin Noor, expressing concern about two colleagues who were there and “are no longer answering their phones.”

In August 2020, the Shebab attacked the Elite Hotel, killing ten civilians and a police officer. It took security forces four hours to bring the building under their control.