EFE | Mogadishu

At least 21 people were killed here Friday when the Islamist al-Shabab militia attacked a hotel favored by politicians and senior officials, a Somali intelligence official told Efe.

The dead are thought to include Yusuf Mohamed Ismail "Baribari," who serves as Somalia's ambassador to Switzerland and represents the African nation before the U.N. agencies based in Geneva, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

A wounded man is carried away from the scene of a car-bomb blast in the Somali capital. At least 21 people died in the explosion and a subsequent gunf
A wounded man is carried away from the scene of a car-bomb blast in the Somali capital. At least 21 people died in the explosion and a subsequent gunfight at a Mogadishu hotel. EFE

Gunmen rushed into Mogadishu's Maka al Mukarama hotel after a car bomb was detonated in front of the establishment, which is a popular gathering place for politicos, diplomats and businesspeople.

Somali security forces moved quickly to cordon-off the area.

Fifteen people died in al-Shabab's Feb. 20 attack on the capital's Central Hotel, just 200 meters (yards) from the presidential palace.

Four people were killed Jan. 22 in a car bombing at a Mogadishu hotel hosting a Turkish delegation who traveled to Somalia to meet with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

Al-Shabab, which pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2012, has mounted a string of terrorist attacks, including the September 2013 slaughter of 67 people at a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya.

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