SO WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO GET AROUND TO ADMITTING ISLAM IS THE PROBLEM?
Somalia suicide bomber kills 32
At least 40 die in Mogadishu fighting
Last Updated: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 | 7:31 AM ET
The Associated Press
A suicide bomber and gunmen wearing military uniforms attacked a hotel near Somalia’s presidential palace Tuesday, sparking a running gun battle with security forces.
At least 32 people were killed, including six Somali parliamentarians.
A parliamentarian who was at the Muna Hotel said there were “dead bodies all over” and he labelled the scene a massacre.
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 labelled as invaders, a reference to the 6,000 African Union troops in Mogadishu.
Death toll rises
The attack on the Muna Hotel raised the two-day toll to at least 70, 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.
An 11-year-old shoeshine boy and a woman selling tea in front of the hotel were among the dead, said Maj. Barigye Bahoku, the African Union spokesman.
A parliamentarian who was at the hotel when the attack occurred said he had seen at least 20 bodies lying in the corridor of the hotel, including one dead member of parliament. The parliamentarian spoke on condition of anonymity because of fear for his safety.
He said the suicide bomber blew himself up near the reception and then gunmen stormed the hotel, setting off a gun battle that lasted about an hour.
Sheik Ali Mohamud Rage, a spokesman for the al-Shabab militia, said 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-Qaeda.
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.