The Islamist extremist group has targeted hotels multiple times over the years, including in February 2019 when it killed at least 20 people in a car bomb and gun attack on a hotel in Mogadishu that lasted for nearly 24 hours.

A month before that, Al-Shabaab killed 21 people in a siege on an upscale hotel in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, an assault that highlighted its ability to expand its network beyond Somalia’s borders.

Its last major attack in Mogadishu was in December 2019, when it slaughtered 81 people by detonating a vehicle packed with explosives.

Somalia senior analyst for International Crisis Group, Omar Mahmood, expressed the challenges in knowing whether the relative lull in the group’s terrorist activity this year reflects a capacity improvement on the part of Somali security forces or a change in strategy by Al-Shabaab.