Explosions, gunfire rock Somali capital

Explosions and gunfire echoed around Somalia’s capital on Friday night, evidence of another spate of violence in the East African nation.

A large blast rocked central Mogadishu followed by the rattle of bullets, according to a Somali official nearby. Another, smaller explosion — not to mention continued gunfire — could be heard about 30 minutes later.

Somali security forces, meanwhile, rushed to the scene of the apparent violence, a Somali police source told the media.

The National Intelligence and Security of Agency (NISA) of Somalia tweeted that the Hotel SYL was apparently targeted, though it wasn’t clear if the attackers got past the hotel’s gates.

The same agency later added, around 9:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m. ET), that its “rescue mission” had “concluded” with four attackers killed and several other people dead.

It was not immediately who was responsible, though Somalia is no stranger to violence.

Last month, a suicide bomber and gunmen killed at least 20 people and wounded 17 inan attack on a beachside restaurant-hotel in Mogadishu, said authorities. Six attackers were also killed.

Government forces identified those attackers — at least some of whom had arrived by boat — as members of Al-Shabab, the Islamist extremist group that has been terrorizing Somalia and neighbuoring nations for years.The al Qaeda-linked militant organization’s aim is to turn Somalia into a fundamentalist Islamic state, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. It hasn’t confined its ambitions to Somalia, however, as evidenced by other horrific attacks like last year’s massacre at Kenya’s Garissa University College and a 2013 siege of Nairobi’s upscale Westgate Mall.