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#AceBreakingNews – Gunfire has been heard inside a besieged hotel in Somalia’s capital a day after it was attacked by an extremist group, according to a local resident and a police officer.
The Villa Rose Hotel, which is near the presidential residence, was stormed on Sunday by members of Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab using guns and explosives.
Some government officials escaped from its windows, according to a police officer.
“There is still heavy gunfire inside the hotel and we hear explosions from time to time … we are still in our houses since last night, when the siege started,” Ismail Haaji, who lives near the hotel, said.
Special forces units, known as Gaashaan and Haramcad, have taken over operations, a police officer at the scene said.
“The fighters who launched the attack are still fighting inside the hotel, and they are fighting with the forces of Haramcad and Gaashaan, and security forces are trying to rescue the people trapped inside the hotel,” the officer said.
The number of casualties from the siege and the number of people rescued is not yet clear.
Government officials in Mogadishu frequently use the hotel for meetings.
Somalia’s parliament said it had postponed a scheduled session for both of its houses.
“All members of parliament of both councils are being informed that today’s scheduled meeting has been postponed,” it said in a statement posted on social media.
Al Shabaab, which is seeking to topple the government and establish its own rule based on an extreme interpretation of Islamic law, frequently stages attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who was elected this year, has launched a military offensive against the group.
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