Death toll rises to 14 in Mogadishu bombings

Saul Bowman
October 29, 2017

At least 10 people have been killed in a double vehicle bombing in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, which is still reeling from a massive attack that left hundreds dead earlier this month.

Police officer Major Abdullahi Aden told Reuters the vehicle bomb said: 'They are fighting inside.

Police official Ibrahim Mohamed said the attack started when a vehicle bomb went off at the entrance to the hotel while "a minibus loaded with explosives" was detonated at a nearby intersection.

"The second vehicle bomb exploded 30 minutes later near National Intelligence Agency prison known as Godka-jilacow", Mohamed said.

"Security forces have entered a small portion of the hotel building ... the exchange of gunfire is hellish", he said. One senior police official and a former MP were among the dead.

A huge cloud of smoke rose over the scene and a Reuters witness saw over a dozen wrecked cars and bloodstains in front of the hotel.

Security officials said Saturday's bomber had pretended his truck had broken down outside the gate.

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".

The United States under President Trump has made a renewed push to defeat the Shabab, Somali-based militants who have terrorized the country and East Africa for years, killing civilians across borders, worsening starvation and destabilizing a broad stretch of the region. "We are fighting inside", said Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group's military operations spokesman.

Farmajo was scheduled to meet the presidents of the Somalia's five federal republics at the hotel later in the evening, he said.

Nasa-hablood hotel is located near the presidential palace in Mogadishu.

Saturday's explosions occurred two weeks after an enormous blast in Mogadishu that killed at least 358 people.

Al-Shabab has been involved in 987 of 1,827 attacks by militant Islamist groups in Africa this year, according to the Africa Center for Security Studies in Washington, D.C. The Somali group has had a long affiliation with al-Qaeda but now appears to be cooperating with ISIS, controlling much of the countryside, analysts said.

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