Bombs kill at least 17 people in Somali capital Mogadishu - UPDATED
Two car bombs killed at least 17 people in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Saturday, police said, two weeks after a huge truck bomb killed hundreds of civilians in the city, APA reports quoting Reuters.
Islamist group al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attacks on Saturday. A suicide car bomb was rammed into a hotel, Nasahablod Two, about 600 meters from the presidential palace, and then armed militants stormed the building, police said.
A few minutes later, a car bomb exploded near the former parliament house nearby.
Ali Nur, a police officer, told Reuters 17 people, mostly policemen, had died in the blasts.
“Security forces have entered a small portion of the hotel building ... the exchange of gunfire is hellish,” he said.
The police personnel who died had been stationed close to hotel’s gate. The dead also included a former lawmaker, he said.
Fighting continued to rage inside the hotel after the blast and police said the death toll was likely to rise.
Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of Amin ambulances, told Reuters the emergency service had carried 17 people injured from the hotel bombing.
At least 10 people, including a former lawmaker and a police official were killed and more than eight others wounded in two suspected suicide car blasts at a hotel in capital Mogadishu on Saturday evening, according to police, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.
Police Officer Ali Mohamed told Anadolu Agency over the phone that a car bomb had targeted the Nasa-hablood hotel near the presidential palace; soon after another car bomb exploded near the scene.
"The first attack was caused by a suicide car bomber targeting the Nasa-hablood hotel; at least 10 people were killed, more than eight others wounded.
“The second car bomb exploded 30 minutes later near National Intelligence Agency prison known as Godka-jilacow," Mohamed said.
According to Somali national news agency (SONNA), former MP Abdinasir Garane and former police commissioner of Daynile district Mohamed Yusuf were among the dead.
Local media reported that heavily-armed gunmen had stormed the Nasa-hablood hotel after the explosion and a gunbattle continues to rage on inside.
I have seen eight wounded people at the scene; Somali security forces and emergency services are there, Mohamed Gurow, 30-year-old businessman, told Anadolu Agency.
Nasa-hablood hotel is located near the presidential palace in Mogadishu.
Somali-based insurgent group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack and said its fighters remain inside the hotel.
The latest attack comes two weeks after a suicide truck bomb attack in Mogadishu left more than 358 people dead.
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