Briton among 26 killed in Somalia hotel attack

Briton among 26 killed in Somalia hotel attack
Briton among 26 killed in Somalia hotel attack

A Briton was among 26 people killed by terrorists in an overnight siege of a hotel in Somalia.

Somali forces stormed the Asasey Hotel in the southern port city of Kismayo on Saturday morning to end the siege, which involved at least four al-Shabab assailants.

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

Kismayo hotel attack
The Asasey Hotel was badly damaged in the attack (AP)

As well as the Briton, three Kenyans, three Tanzanians and two Americans were among those killed.

Prominent Canadian-Somali journalist Hodan Nalayeh and her husband, Farid Jama Suleiman, also died.

Fifty-six people, including two Chinese, were injured.

The attack lasted more than 14 hours before troops shot dead all attackers inside the hotel compound, local police officer Abdiqadir Nur said.

Somalia's Islamic extremist rebels, al-Shabab, claimed responsibility for the attack. The group, which is allied to al Qaida, often uses car bombs to infiltrate heavily fortified targets.

Kismayo hotel attack
Debris from the hotel was scattered outside following the siege (AP)

Omar Suleiman, a US-based imam who knew journalist Ms Nalayeh, paid tribute to her on social media.

He wrote: "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. What a loss to us.

"Her beautiful spirit shined through her work and the way she treated people."

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. She was the first Somali woman media owner in the world.