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Double vehicle bombing strikes Mogadishu

Double vehicle bombing strikes Mogadishu”

Police Officer Ali Mohamed told Anadolu Agency over the phone that a vehicle bomb had targeted the Nasa-hablood hotel near the presidential palace; soon after another auto bomb exploded near the scene. The al-Qaida affiliated terrorist group has repeatedly targeted high-profile areas of Mogadishu over the years, including an attack in June 2016 on the sister hotel of the Nasa-Hablod 2, which saw 11 people killed. The dead also included a former politician, he said.

"I think they were al-Shabab fighters who were trying to storm the hotel", he said, lying on a hospital bed. "Apostate officials are staying", said the brief statement.

A suicide auto bomber first drove into a hotel where President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo was due to host a meeting on Saturday, following by a vehicle bombing near a former parliament building.

Mogadishu's Aamin ambulance service has so far removed three bodies from the scene and evacuated 17 wounded, its director Abdukadir Abdurahman told AFP.

Witnesses then reported hearing shooting from inside the hotel.

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

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

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".

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

The Shabaab has made attacks on hotels - commonly beginning with a suicide auto bombing followed by an invasion by gunmen - a regular strategy in its decade old battle to overthrow successive internationally-backed governments in Mogadishu.

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



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