Africa AMU Intelligence Terrorism

Al-Shabaab Hits Popular Somali Hotel

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By William Tucker

The Somali militant group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for a car bombing at the Hotel Muna in Mogadishu on Wednesday. Local officials told the media that 15 people were killed in the blast and further 20 were wounded. Hotel Muna is popular with Somali politicians and was the target of another attack in 2010. The attack comes one day prior to a video announcement from al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri formally bringing al-Shabaab under the al-Qaeda umbrella. Although al-Shabaab has pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda in the past, the Somali group has undergone a leadership coup meaning that Zawahiri may be recognizing the leadership change. Despite many setbacks over the past few months, al-Shabaab has shown that it has successfully shifted from a light infantry style fighting force into a structure that is more consistent with guerilla style warfare. Such a change will give the TFG government in Mogadishu room to breathe, but it doesn’t mean that al-Shabaab is finished as a major threat to the region.

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