Published: Sun, October 29, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

At least 10 dead in hotel attack in Mogadishu

At least 10 dead in hotel attack in Mogadishu

A truck bomb detonated outside a hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, minutes before gunmen on foot stormed the building on Saturday afternoon, killing at least 19 people and wounding at least 15 others, state media reported.

The first explosion was a suicide auto bomb which detonated outside a Mogadishu hotel, where gunfire broke out inside the building.

"A vehicle loaded with explosives went off at the entrance of Nasa Hablod Hotel and there is gunfire", police official Ibrahim Mohamed told AFP, saying there was also "a minibus loaded with explosives which went off a nearby intersection".

Fellow witness Ismail Muktar said, "We can hear sporadic gunfire and grenade blasts and the area is very dark because the electric line was cut off amid the blast".

Gunfire was heard from inside the hotel building, where up to 20 people, including government officials, were assumed to be holed up as part of a standoff between security forces and militants.

The group is believed to be behind a Mogadishu truck bomb attack two weeks ago that killed more than 350 people.

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The Somali militant group Al Shabab said it carried out the bombings.

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", said Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group's military operations spokesman.

Its sister hotel, the Nasahablod, was targeted by Al Shabab in a similar attack that killed 11 people in June a year ago.

Al-Shabab, Africa's deadliest extremist group, claimed responsibility for the attack that killed a baby and two children, a senior Somali police colonel and a former lawmaker, Capt. Mohamed Hussein told the Associated Press.

He said the hotel belonged to Somalia's internal security minister, Mohamed Abukar Islow. There was no immediate claim as to who was responsible for the blast.

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