A suicide bomber and gunmen wearing military uniforms attacked a hotel near Somalia’s presidential palace Monday, sparking a running gun battle with security forces. At least 32 people were killed, including six Somali parliamentarians.
The multi-pronged assault came less than 24 hours after the country’s most dangerous militant group — al-Shabab — threatened a “massive” war against what it labeled as invaders, a reference to the 6,000 African Union troops in Mogadishu.
Sheik Ali Mohamud Rage, a spokesman for the al-Shabab militia, said that members of the group’s “special forces” had carried out the attack against those “aiding the infidels.”
Militant veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are believed to be helping train members of al-Shabab, which has links to al-Qaida. Tuesday’s assault is only the latest in a series of increasingly lethal attacks. Last month the group claimed responsibility for twin bombings during the World Cup final in Uganda’s capital, blasts that killed 76 people.
Al-Shabab said the attack was in retaliation for Uganda’s role in the African Union force in Mogadishu.