UPDATE, 5:50 p.m. EDT: The White House Sunday condemned the fatal attack on a hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia, calling it "abhorrent." The statement by National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said the attack that left 13 dead is "yet another reminder of the unconscionable atrocities that terrorist groups continue to perpetrate against the people of Somalia."

"The United States remains steadfast in our commitment to work with Somali authorities, our regional partners, and the broader international community to bring an end to acts of terrorism and combat violent extremism in Somalia," Price said.

UPDATE, 1:45 p.m. EDT: The total number of casualties in the attack on the Jazeera hotel has grown to 13, Reuters reported Sunday afternoon.

As Mogadishu worked to recover, Nick Kay, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, condemned the raid on Twitter:




Original story: At least five people were reportedly killed Sunday morning at the Jazeera hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia, when a suspected suicide car bomb exploded near the gate. Local officials told various media outlets the incident was likely another attack by the Islamist militant group al-Shabab.

The minister of internal security of the federal government of Somalia, Abdirizak Mohamed, tweeted that he heard the attack had a “low casualty rate” but caused “huge hotel damage.” Nobody inside the hotel died, and the security ministry tweeted it was “thankful for the survival of hundreds” there for a workshop.

Somalia's National Intelligence and Security Agency tweeted that five civilians died and three security guards were wounded. Other outlets reported higher numbers of casaulties.

The Jazeera hotel is considered one of the nation’s finest and safest for its close proximity to the United Nations compound. Al-Shabab, which has been linked to al Qaeda as it battles Somalia’s government, has set off car bombs at the hotel before. In January 2014, a suicide bomber killed four people along with himself at the gate. Two years before, al-Shabab raided the hotel while the Somali president met with Kenyan diplomats.



An al-Shabab spokesman took responsibility for Sunday’s assault as well, Reuters reported. “We are behind the attack," Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab said, adding that al-Shabab was targeting "enemies" like government officials and the peacekeeping group African Union Mission to Somalia.

Al-Shabab has had an active weekend. On Saturday, fighters killed a government official from the prime minister's office, a lawmaker and a bodyguard in Mogadishu, International Business Times previously reported. They were reportedly singled out for promoting “anti-Islamic” regulations.

As ambulances drove around the Jazeera hotel gathering bodies Sunday, a BBC reporter described the scene as “one of the worst scenes of destruction he’s ever seen in Mogadishu.”

The security ministry immediately issued a statement of support on Twitter. “Our spirit will not die! And this too will pass,” it read. “We wish those injured a full recovery and we salute our brave troops! #MogadishuLivesOn”