At least 10 die in 2 vehicle bombings in Mogadishu

Posted October 29, 2017

Bombs killed at least seven people in Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Saturday, police said.

Witnesses said gunmen stormed Nasa-Hablod hotel after detonating a auto filled with explosives at the entrance.

The second auto bomb exploded near the former parliament building, and the extent of damage caused by the second explosion is not yet clear.

The second explosion took place around 30 minutes later near security forces.

The suspected suicide bomber is believed to have detonated near the gate of the hotel close to the presidential palace at around 5pm local time.

A taxi driver at the scene told AFP he saw four bodies being carried away, while another witness called Yusuf Moalim said a senior police official appeared to be among the victims, whose vehicle had been near the hotel entrance when the blast occurred.

Fighting continued to rage inside the hotel and police said the death toll was likely to rise.

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.

"We can hear the gunfire but it is hard to know who is fighting, the forces cordoned off the building and no-one can go close to it", said a witness called Abdulahi Nure.

Islamist group al-Shabab, responsible for scores of such attacks in the country's long civil war, said it carried out Saturday's bombings.

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

A third blast occurred when an attacker detonated a suicide vest.

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

According to an Al Jazeera tally, since the start of this year, more than 20 explosions have targeted Mogadishu, killing at least 500 people and injuring more than 630. No one has claimed responsibility for that attack.