26 dead, 56 injured in militant attack on Somalia hotel

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Al-Shabaab, the militant group operating in parts of east Africa has claimed responsibility.

Those killed in the attack include Kenyans, Americans, a Briton and Tanzanians, Jubbaland region's president said on Saturday.

According to several sources, most of those staying in the hotel were politicians and traders ahead of upcoming regional elections.

"The deaths of Hodan, 43 and Sahal, 35, become the first journalists killed in the country this year", the statement said. But the mother of two had recently returned to Somalia.

Al Qaeda-linked Islamist terrorist group al Shabab, which is trying to topple Somalia's weak United Nations -backed government, immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Secretary General, Abdalle Ahmed Mumin said " this is another sad day for Somali journalists".

Somalia's security forces on Saturday ended the overnight attack by the militant group in the southern port city of Kismayu, a police officer said. It said its fighters had battled their way into the hotel after a suicide auto bomb attack.

Madeira said AMISOM forces will continue to support the Somalia security forces as they continue to liberate areas that remain under the control of violent extremists.

The attack began with a suicide auto bomb at the entrance gate and was then followed by an assault by gunmen who stormed the hotel, which is frequented by politicians.

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A Somali-Canadian journalist who used her platform to share "uplifting and inspiring" cultural stories with global audiences was killed Friday, after a vehicle bomb exploded at a hotel in Somalia's port city of Kismayo.

Naleyah was killed alongside her husband Farid Jama.

The Somalia office of the U.N.'s International Organization for Migration also said on Twitter one of its local staff members, Abdifatah Mohamed, was among those killed.

Rather, she said, Nalayeh responded: "I just want people to remember me as someone who is a unifier".

In an interview with Toronto's Etobicoke Guardian newspaper that year, Nalayeh said her family was one of the first to come to Canada from Somalia in 1984.

The attack is the latest in a long line of bombing and assaults claimed by Al-Shabaab.

The African Union's Special Representative in Somalia, Francisco Madeira, said the attack was "meant to derail progress in Somalia as the country rebuilds and consolidates the gains made on peace and security".