MOGADISHU — A suicide car bomb exploded outside a popular hotel in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, on Saturday, killing at least 23 people and injuring more than 30,.
Gunfire continued as security forces pursued the attackers inside the building, police said. Two more blasts were heard, one when an attacker detonated a suicide vest.
A suicide car bomb was rammed into a hotel, Nasahablod Two, about 600 metres from the presidential palace, and then armed militants stormed the building, police said.
Two of the five attackers were killed on the first floor, Captain Mohamed Hussein said. The others hurled grenades and cut off the building’s electricity as night fell.
A few minutes later another car bomb exploded near the former parliament house nearby.
Three of the five attackers were killed, Mr Hussein said. Among the dead were a mother and three children, including a baby, all shot in the head, Mr Hussein said. Other victims included a senior Somali police colonel, a former lawmaker and a former government minister.
Ali Nur, a police officer, said 17 people, mostly policemen, had died in the blasts near hotel’s gate.
Fighting continued to rage inside the hotel and police said the death toll was likely to rise.
Islamist group Al Shabaab, responsible for scores of such attacks in the country’s long civil war, claimed the responsibility and said it carried out Saturday’s bombings.
“We targeted ministers and security officials who were inside the hotel. We are fighting inside,” Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group’s military operations spokesman, told media.
He said the hotel belonged to Somalia’s internal security minister, Mohamed Abukar Islow.
Al Shabaab is fighting to topple Somalia’s internationally-backed government and impose its strict interpretation of Islam’s sharia law.
The blasts have come two weeks after more than 350 people were killed in a massive truck bombing on a busy Mogadishu street in the country’s worst-ever attack.
President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed said the new attack was meant to instil fear in Somalis who united after that, marching in the thousands through Mogadishu in defiance of Al Shabaab.
7 injured in Dhading truck-microbus collision
DHADING — Seven passengers were injured after a microbus and a truck collided head-on at Baireni in Galchhi rural municipality-6, Dhading on Thursday morning.
The cement loaded truck(Na 5 Kha 7386) en route to Kathmandu from Gajuri collided with the microbus(Ga 1 Kha 2966) coming from Pokhara from Kathmandu.
Driver of microbus along with other six have sustained injuries. Other injured are Ramendra Bishwokarma and Purna Kumari Gurung of Syangja, Aasha Gurung, Aarapi Gurung and Bibek Poudel of Kathmandu, Anju Chaudhary of Kaski and Suman Gurung of Lamjung, according to Area Police Office, Gajuri.Follow @gorkhapost