At least ten people were killed amid the fighting around the Afrik Hotel, strategically located near the heavily fortified Mogadishu airport and often frequented by government officials, opposition politicians, and humanitarian workers.
The casualties include a retired army general, as well as four members of the Al-Qaeda, affiliated insurgent group, and five civilians, authorities have said the fighting began with a suicide car bomb blast followed by heavy fighting between security forces and attackers.
More than ten people were wounded and rushed to nearby hospitals in the capital for treatment, police spokesman Sadaq Adan Ali told reporters.
Abdifatah Hassan, a police captain in Mogadishu, told Anadolu Agency that the casualties could rise.
Local media reported that four soldiers from a special unit were also killed during the clashes inside the hotel.
Retired army general and former defence minister Mohamed Nuur Galal was among those killed in the attack, according to Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble.
"My heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims of the heinous terror attack in Hotel Afrik, including Gen Mohamed Nur Galal, who served his country with valor for over 50 years. This attack is yet another reminder of the savage enemy we face. We must unite against terror," Roble said in a short statement posted on Twitter.
My heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims of the heinous terror attack in Hotel Afrik including Gen Mohamed Nur Galal who served his country with valor for over 50 years. This attack is yet another reminder of the savage enemy we face. We must unite against terror.
— Mohamed Hussein Roble (@MohamedHRoble) January 31, 2021