Two journalists were among the 13 killed in a suicide car bombing that targeted the Jazeera Palace Hotel in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.
Abdihakin Mohamed Omar, a producer for the Somali Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), and Mohamed Abdikarim Moallim Adam, a reporter for Universal TV, were killed in the explosion on 26 July. Another Universal TV reporter, Salman Jamal, was seriously injured.
The Al Qaeda affiliated Al Shabab militant group claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Jazeera Palace hotel is home to the diplomatic missions of China, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates in Somalia.
“We condemn this barbaric act which has claimed so many innocent lives, including that of two working journalists,” said Omar Faruk Osman, the secretary general of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ).
The president of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Jim Boumelha, said, “We are shocked by this tragic loss that affects the journalists community in Somalia. We send our condolences to our killed colleagues’ family and friends and condemn this cruel attack on civilians.”
The Jazeera Palace Hotel had numerous foreign diplomats staying in it, and has been targeted several times before.
"We have carried 13 dead people and 21 others who were injured, some seriously," said a health worker, Abdikadir Abdirahman, speaking about the latest attack.
According to security authorities, a suicide bomber drove a car packed with explosives through the hotel’s gate near International Mogadishu Airport before blowing it up.
"It is a response to attacks and helicopter bombing against al Shabaab by AMISOM and the Somali government," said Al Shabab's military operations spokesman, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab.
Al Shabab has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and NATO.
As Al Shabab militants have been driven out of many regions they once controlled in Somalia, including Mogadishu, they have carried out more frequent violent attacks targeting government officials and civilians.