Preliminary reports of casualties from an explosion and a direct attack on the Elite Hotel on Mogadishu’s Lido beach are mounting.
A car bomb had exploded at the entrance of the hotel, and an unknown number of al-Shabaab gunmen entered the hotel, where many people and officials were fighting.
At least five people have been confirmed dead so far, while others have been injured, and the toll could rise as the attack continues.
Among those killed in the attack was Abdirizak Abdi, director of regional relations at the Ministry of Information, according to ministry officials.
FGS Information Minister Mohamed Abdi Hayir offered his condolences on the death of the ministry’s regional liaison director and others killed in the Lido attack.
Galmudug Minister of Public Works and Housing Ahmed Dhiblawe was injured, according to credible sources.
Also among the injured were Photographer Mohamed Abdi Hussein, a staff member of the national TV station, and singer Faiza Beela of the Somali Police Force Heegan Group.
Mohamed Ibrahim Maalimuu, secretary general of the Somali Journalists Association, was among the survivors who were inside a hotel at the time of the attack, sitting with the director of tourism at the Ministry of Information, where he died.
Heavy gunfire can still be heard in and around the Elite Hotel as Al-Shabaab militants fight. Security forces are conducting an operation to end the attack and rescue people trapped in the hotel, whose condition is unknown.