The siege ended after a three-hour, fierce gun battle between fighters of Islamist terrorist group al-Shabaab and security forces which began with a suicide car bombing, government spokesman Ismael Mukhtar Omar told dpa.
Among the 12 victims were two government employees, three hotel security guards, four civilians and three unidentified people, police officer Ahmed Bashane told dpa.
Most guests of the four-storey seaside hotel could be rescued, but 28 wounded people were taken to hospitals, according to local ambulance services head Abdulkadir Abdirahman Adan.
Terrorist group al-Shabaab later claimed responsibility for the siege, which was carried out by five attackers, the government spokesman said.
The terrorists began the attack with a powerful suicide car bomb at the gate to the hotel, after which they stormed the Elite Hotel, situated on the capital’s Lido beach, and laid siege to it, according to Bashane.
An intense gun battle ensued between the attackers, hotel guards, and security forces, the police officer added.
Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo strongly condemned the attack.
“The terrorists want to create despair in our society… Such evil acts will not deter us from moving our country forward,” Farmajo said in a statement.
The hotel, owned by Somali lawmaker and prominent businessmen Abdullahi Mohamed Nur, is frequented by politicians, journalists and civil society activists.
Al-Shabaab is affiliated with the international al-Qaeda terrorist network, and launches regular attacks within the volatile East African nation.
In a separate incident, Somali education minister Abdullahi Godah Barre survived an assassination attempt after his convoy hit a roadside bomb when visiting southern Gedo province on Sunday, regional government official Mustafe Hajji told dpa.
At least one Somali lawmaker was wounded during the blast, according to Hajji. (dpa/NAN)