Two militants shot dead 30 people, including six members of parliament, in a suicide attack on a Mogadishu hotel Tuesday, Somalia’s deputy prime minister said.
The militants from the Shebab insurgency disguised as government security forces then blew themselves up to avoid arrest after the indiscriminate attack on the hotel housing MPs and Somali civil servants.
The brazen attack just a stone’s throw from the presidential palace marked a new escalation on the second day of clashes that had already left 29 civilians dead across the war-ravaged Somali capital.
The operation by the Shebab group drew strong condemnation from the Western-backed transitional government and its African Union backers.
“Thirty people died in this ambush. Six of them are members of the Somali parliament and four are Somali government civil servants,” Deputy Prime Minister Abdirahman Haji Adan Ibbi told reporters.
“The 20 others are innocent civilians who died in this horrible incident,” he added.
Officials visiting the scene of the carnage held their noses because of the stench of burned flesh and smoke.
Witnesses and hotel staff said the attackers were wearing government security uniforms and shot dead security guards at the gate to the compound as they rushed into the three-storey building.
One government soldier who took part in the fighting and refused to give his name said one of the bombers detonated his suicide vest on the balcony when he saw they were surrounded.