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.
PM congratulates Nepali national cricket team
KATHMANDU— Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has congratulated Nepali national cricket team for being able to clinch the International T20 series.
PM Oli in a tweet extended best wishes and congratulations saying he was very happy to know Nepal’s win over the UAE by 14 runs in the third match of the series.
Winning T20 series is another landmark success for Nepali cricket, he said, adding, “It is big achievement for Nepal’s cricket. I would like to heartily congratulate entire members of Nepali cricket squad”.