Militants attack Mogadishu hotel

Somali security forces guard the entrance to the SYL hotel in Mogadishu, Dec 11, 2019. [AP Photo]

Al-Shabab fighters in Somalia stormed a heavily guarded hotel in downtown Mogadishu on Thursday evening, witnesses and officials said.

A resident told VOA that an explosion was detonated outside the SYL hotel. Moments later, the witness said, he heard gunfire from inside the hotel.

The al-Shabab militant group claimed responsibility for the attack, and its members were fighting inside the hotel.

Two security officers who did not want to be identified also said militants had entered the hotel.

One of the security officers told VOA Somali that multiple people had been injured in the attack, including officials and parliamentarians.

Somali government police have not commented on the attack.

The hotel, which is frequented by citizens as well as politicians, has been the target of multiple al-Shabab attacks in the past.