Huge blast in hotel in Somalia's Kismayu, followed by gunfire

Al-Shabaab remains the key threat to peace in Somalia carrying out attacks like this car bombing in Mogadishu

At least six people have been killed and about 50 others injured on Friday evening following a terrorist attack at a hotel in the southern city of Kismayo in Somalia, officials have confirmed.

Abdi Ahmed, a local district official, told The Associated Press the death toll may rise as fighting is continuing inside the Asasey Hotel between the extremist gunmen and security forces.

Jubaland region State Security Official Gulled Adan told Anadolu Agency over phone from Kismayo that a suicide vehicle bomb blast targeted the Cas-casey hotel in central Kismayo, which was followed by gunfire, killing at least 10 people and wounding several others.

"Through her work as a journalist, she highlighted the community's positive stories and contributions in Canada, and became a voice for many", said Hussen, who is also a Somali-Canadian.

The Al-Shabaab Islamist militant group has claimed responsibility for the blast, adding that this was a suicide attack.

Hassan Gesey, director of Mogadishu-based media outlet Radio Dalsan, confirmed to the Star that Hodan was killed in the attack along with her husband.

"There is chaos inside, I saw several dead bodies carried from the scene and people are fleeing from the nearby buildings", he said.

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"Many of us could have lost our lives to bullets or hunger or diseases", she said of many Somalis who immigrated to Canada.

It said Naleyeh had recently returned from Canada.

Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabaab's military operation spokesman, said the group was behind the attack and fighting was still going on.

"The blast rocked the popular Medina hotel formerly known as Cascasey which is located in downtown Kismayo", said Mohamed.

Local leaders and politicians were meeting at the hotel at the time of the attack. The metropolis's port had been a vital source of earnings for the crew from taxes, charcoal exports and levies on hands and other unlawful imports.

It remains a vital security threat, with warring parties recurrently undertaking bombings in Somalia and neighbouring Kenya, whose troops create section of the African Union-mandated peacekeeping power that helps shield the Somali authorities.

Outside of Kismayo, al-Shabab still controls parts of Jubbaland, a region in southern Somalia.

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