Somali Forces Still Battling With Al-Shabab in Hotel Attack

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) -- Somali forces were still trying to flush out armed assailants who attacked a hotel in the capital Monday, more than 12 hours after the attack started.

There were reports of gunfire Monday morning. Extremist group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack. There has been no immediate word of any casualties.

Al-Shabab said in a broadcast on its own radio frequency Sunday that its fighters attacked the hotel Villa Rose, which has a restaurant popular with government and security officials.

Scores of people were rescued from the hotel. Abdi Hassan, a government worker who lives near the hotel, told the Associated Press that he believes several government officials were inside the hotel when the attack started. Some were seen jumping the perimeter wall to safety while others were rescued, he said.

The hotel isn't far from the presidential palace in central Mogadishu, from where a blast was heard, followed by gunfire.

Such militant attacks are common in Mogadishu and other parts of the Horn of Africa nation.