Pair of Car Bombs Rip Mogadishu

Pair of Car Bombs Rip Mogadishu

Following further explosions, police said they were battling militants on the top floor of the hotel, where more than 20 civilians may be trapped inside.

Following the blasts, witnesses reported hearing gunfire and said the entire area around the Nasa Hablod Hotel 2 had been sealed off by security forces to keep people away.

"We can confirm that the president was not at the hotel at the time of the attack", he said.

Bombs in Mogadishu two weeks ago killed at least 358 people, the worst such attacks in the country's history, igniting nationwide outrage.

The Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shabaab claimed Saturday's bombings in a statement on its Andalus radio station, saying its fighters had forced their way into the hotel.

According to Somali national news agency (SONNA), former MP Abdinasir Garane and former police commissioner of Daynile district Mohamed Yusuf were among the dead.

Police said earlier a suicide vehicle bomb had been rammed into a hotel and a former government building had been attacked.

Mogadishu's Aamin ambulance service removed bodies from the scene and evacuated 17 wounded, its director Abdukadir Abdurahman said.

Mohamed Ahmed, a tuk-tuk driver, who was driving by the Nasa-Hablod hotel at the time of the attack, said he "saw a auto exploding at the gate of the hotel. We are fighting inside", Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group's military operations spokesman, told Reuters.

Turkish Foreign Ministry condemned Saturday's terrorist attack in Somali capital Mogadishu that claimed the lives of at least 10 people, Anadolu reported.

"I was very lucky", he added. He said he saw at least three armed men in military uniforms running toward the hotel after the suicide bombing at its gate.

Somalia's government attributed that attack to al Shabaab.

"Turkey will continue to stand by the Somali people and its government in the fight against terrorism".


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