Al-Qaeda's Somali Affiliate, Al-Shabab, Releases Videos Of Officials Praising SYL Hotel Suicide Attack As 'Defense Of Shari'a,' 'Source Of Pride,' 'Sign Of Victory' Over Enemies

March 21, 2024

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On March 20, 2024, Al-Kataib Foundation for Media Production, the media arm of Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Somalia, Harakat Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen (Al-Shabab), published videos in Somali featuring four Al-Shabab officials praising the group's March 14 suicide attack on SYL Hotel in Mogadishu, calling the attack a source of pride and a sign of victory over the adversaries of shari'a.[1]

On the evening of March 14, 2024, local and international news outlets reported that a group of Al-Shabab operatives stormed the SYL hotel, a popular facility close to the presidential palace in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. The attack followed multiple bomb explosions and gunfire that lasted about 15 hours.[2] Dozens of government officials were killed.

On March 15, Al-Shabab's military leadership released a statement claiming responsibility for the attack on the SYL Hotel, which it describes as a governmental hotel, hosting government officials and serving as a "den for officers and officials of the West-backed Government of Somalia, including those responsible for the campaign against shari'a."[3]

Act Of Defense Of Shari'a Against Man-Made Laws

An Al-Qaeda-operated server on Rocket Chat (Gnews) released two videos about the attack. In the first video, lasting about seven minutes, unnamed officials appear on camera praising the attack on the SYL hotel. They stated the hotel was frequented by "apostate" parliamentarians who govern with Taghuti, or "un-Islamic," man-made laws. They praised the attack as a "source of pride," an act of defense of shari'a in the Al-Shabab-controlled "Islamic states" in Somalia, and a testimony to the relentless war on apostasy and unbelief in Somalia.

Religious Official: "A Source Of Joy And A Sign Of Victory"

A second video shows an Al-Shabab religious official, Sheikh Farah Ali, praising the attack as a source of joy and a sign of victory. Referencing numerous Quranic verses, Ali stressed the significance of piety and perseverance in the mujahideen's war against enemies. The sheikh notes that those who embrace such virtues are protected by Allah against the scheming of enemies and granted the highest reward.

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