Somali security forces had been trying to clear the Hayat Hotel of attackers since Friday evening when the gunmen stormed the building following gunfire and large explosions in the area.
At least 30 people were killed and at least 50 others injured during the attack, which saw a number of fighters take hostages and fire at security forces from inside the hotel, police said.
Attackers had used the hostages “as human shields” slowing police efforts to end the “terrorist siege,” Police Major Yasin Haji told CNN earlier. Police had first cleared the first and top floors, while the gunmen held out on the middle two floors, he said.
Some 106 people have since been rescued “including children and women,” police chief General Abdi Hassan Mohamed Hijar said in a televised briefing Sunday morning.
Police believe the death toll is likely to rise as a search operation is underway to recover bodies from the debris.
Two security officials, including Mogadishu intelligence chief Muhidin Mohamed, were wounded in the attack, Maj. Hassan Dahir, a police officer, told CNN on Friday.
The attack on the upmarket hotel, which is popular with lawmakers and other government officials, is believed to be the longest siege by the militant group since it was forced out of the Somali capital in 2011.
On Saturday the US State Department said it “strongly condemns the Al-Shabaab attack at the Hayat Hotel”.
“We express our heartfelt condolences to the families who lost loved ones, wish a full recovery to those injured, and commend Somalia’s security forces,” spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement Saturday.
“The United States remains steadfast in our support of Somali and African Union-led efforts to counter terrorism and build a secure and prosperous future for the people of Somalia,” he added.
Quoted from Various Sources
Published for: Mr Blow Up