Global

Mogadishu hotel blast kills 23

Mogadishu hotel blast kills 23

At least three people were killed in twin vehicle bombings in the Somali capital on Saturday that were claimed by Shabaab Islamists, police and medics 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 vehicle exploding at the gate of the hotel".

A third blast is understood to have been caused by the detonation of an attacker's suicide vest as the militants - reportedly disguised as Somali military personnel - hurled grenades and cut off the building's electricity.

Residents said there was a huge smoke billowing from the scene after a huge explosion followed with gunfire was heard outside the hotel.

The attack started with what is assumed to have been a suicide vehicle bomb detonated outside the Nasa-Hablod 2 Hotel near the presidential palace in Mogadishu.

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

The al-Shabab extremist group has claimed responsibility for the attack and confirmed that its fighters were inside the hotel.

The attack happened as the country's leaders converged in Mogadishu for a high level security meeting following the October 14 truck bombing that killed more than 350 people.

He suffered small injuries on his shoulder and skull from flying glass.

It noted its fighters were inside the hotel.

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

He said the hotel belonged to Somalia's internal security minister, Mohamed Abukar Islow.

Al-Shabab often targets high-profile areas of Mogadishu.

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.

A multinational African Union force with 22,000 troops in Somalia is expected to withdraw by the end of 2020.

USA military officials and others in recent months have expressed concern that Somali forces are not yet ready.

The US has been actively involving in trying to combat the group, launching 20 drone strikes.


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