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At least 16 people were killed and dozens wounded in a gun and bomb attack by the al-Shabab armed group on an upscale beachfront hotel in Somalia’s capital.

The hotel siege ended on Sunday after a fierce three-hour gun battle between al-Shabab fighters and security forces that began with a suicide car bombing, government spokesman Ismael Mukhtar Omar said.

Omar said the death toll includes 11 victims and five assailants, Omar said on Twitter.

Dr Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of AAMIN ambulance services, told Reuters news agency on Monday they transported at least 43 people wounded in the attack to hospitals.

The attack started in the afternoon with a powerful car bomb blast that blew off the security gates to the hotel. Then, gunmen ran inside and took hostages, mostly young men and women who were dining there, he said.

Ambulance sirens could be heard in the area which had a power outage when the attack started.

Military vehicles were later seen taking position around the hotel in the night, with officials initially concerned the darkness would prolong the siege.

The hotel is owned by Abdullahi Mohamed Nor, a lawmaker and former finance minister, and is frequented by government officials and members of the Somali diaspora.

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