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Auto bomb attacks kill at least 22 in Somalia's capital Mogadishu

Auto bomb attacks kill at least 22 in Somalia's capital Mogadishu

The blast on Saturday, in the central city's K5 Junction which is lined with government offices, hotels and restaurants, destroyed several buildings and set dozens of vehicles on fire.

"The bomb went off alongside the busy road and left many people dead". While there was no immediate claim of responsibility for Saturday's blast, the Shabab has often targeted high-profile areas of Mogadishu with deadly bombings.

"This was very awful", witness Ismail Yusuf told AFP news agency.

Shortly after the first blast the second explosion was reported in Mogadishu's Wadajir disctict.

"This was very disgusting incident".

"They have collected tens of dead and injured and the work is still ongoing", he said.

The hotel is close to Somalia's foreign ministry, which has been under tight security with military-manned checkpoints. It is not known whether the hotel was the target on this occasion, but in the past the Shabaab has frequently attacked hotels where officials stay.

"The whole area looks like a scene from a war", said Ahmed Bare, another witness. "We are still busy transporting casualties", he added. The militants emerged out of a bitter insurgency fighting Ethiopia, whose troops entered Somalia in a US-backed invasion in 2006 to topple the Islamic Courts Union that was then controlling Mogadishu.

The blast occurred two days after the head of the U.S. Africa Command was in Mogadishu to meet with Somalia's president, and two days after the country's defense minister and army chief resigned for undisclosed reasons.


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