MOGADISHU, Somalia — At least 10 people, including a Canadian journalist, were killed by militant Islamists in an attack Friday on a hotel in the port city of Kismayo, a Somali official said.
Abdi Ahmed, a local district official, told The Associated Press that the death toll may rise as fighting between the militants and security forces was continuing inside the Asasey Hotel. The attack began with a suicide car bomb blast before gunmen stormed into the hotel.
Mr. Ahmed said most of the victims were patrons of the hotel, which is frequented by lawmakers and local officials. He said the victims included two journalists.
Shabab, the extremist Islamist group, claimed the responsibility for the attack.
The independent station Radio Dalsan, which is based in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, reported that the Canadian journalist, Hodan Nalayeh, and her husband, Farid Jama Suleiman, died in the attack. Mr. Suleiman had been a commerce minister of Somalia’s Jubaland State, whose capital is Kismayo.
Ms. Nalayeh was born in Somalia in 1976, but spent much of her life in Canada. She became the first Somali woman to own a media company when she founded Integration TV, whose programming was directed at Somali viewers around the world.
Ms. Nalayeh was also known as a forceful campaigner on social issues, especially those that involved the welfare of women.
“What a loss to us,” Omar Suleiman, a Texas-based imam who knew the victim, wrote on social media. “Her beautiful spirit shined through her work and the way she treated people.”