32 dead after suicide bomber attacks Somali hotel

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 24, 2010 18:59

 
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MOGADISHU, Somalia – A suicide bomber and gunmen wearing military uniforms attacked a hotel near Somalia's presidential palace Tuesday, sparking a one-hour gun battle with security forces. At least 32 people were killed, including six Somali parliamentarians.

Witnesses described a horrific scene of dead bodies throughout the Muna Hotel and guests scrambling to safety by escaping out of windows.

The multi-pronged assault came less than 24 hours after the country's most dangerous militant group — al-Shabab, a group allied with al-Qaida — threatened a "massive" war against what it labeled as invaders, a reference to the 6,000 African Union troops in Mogadishu.

The attack on the Muna Hotel raised the two-day toll to at least 70 people, a high number even by Mogadishu's violent standards. Fighting that rocked Mogadishu on Monday killed 40 people, health officials said.

Somalia's deputy prime minister told The Associated Press that 19 civilians, six members of parliament, five security forces and two hotel workers were killed in the attack — a total of 32. Two attackers also were killed, said Abdirahman Haji Aden Ibi, the deputy prime minister. A government statement said 31 people were killed.

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