Somali forces ended an all-night siege on a hotel in the southern port city of Kismayo on Saturday morning, but the death toll has risen to 26 people, including a prominent Canadian-Somali journalist and several foreigners, officials said.
Those killed include three Kenyans, three Tanzanians, two Americans, one Canadian and one Briton, said Ahmed Madobe, the president of Jubbaland, the regional state containing Kismayo. Fifty-six people, including two Chinese citizens, were injured in the hotel attack, he told reporters.
At least four Shabab militants attacked the Asasey Hotel on Friday evening. A suicide car bomb at the entrance gate was followed by gunmen storming the hotel, which is frequented by politicians and lawmakers.
The attack lasted more than 14 hours. Troops eventually shot dead all attackers inside the hotel compound, Col. Abdiqadir Nur, a local police officer, told The Associated Press.
The Shabab, an Islamic extremist rebel group with links to Al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack. The group often uses car bombs to infiltrate heavily fortified targets like the hotel in Kismayo, a city that has been relatively quiet in recent years.
The Canadian journalist Hodan Nalayeh and her husband, Farid Jama Suleiman, died in the attack, the Mogadishu-based independent radio station Radio Dalsan confirmed to The Associated Press.
“I’m absolutely devastated by the news of the death of our dear sister Hodan Nalayeh and her husband in a terrorist attack in Somalia today. What a loss to us. Her beautiful spirit shined through her work and the way she treated people,” Omar Suleiman, a Texas-based imam who knew the victim, wrote on social media.
Ms. Nalayeh was born in Somalia in 1976, but spent most of her life in Canada, first in Alberta and then in Toronto. She founded Integration TV, an international web-based video production company aimed at Somali viewers around the world.