Bombs kill at least 7 in Mogadishu

Bombs kill at least 7 in Mogadishu

Mogadishu, Oct 29 At least 14 people were killed in coordinated vehicle bombings followed by an attack on a hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu, claimed by Shabaab Islamists.

On Saturday, a suicide auto bomb was rammed into a hotel, Nasahablod Two, about 600 metres from the presidential palace, and then armed militants stormed the building, police said.

Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of Mogadishu's Amin ambulance service, said 17 injured people had been carried away from the hotel blast.

"The second auto bomb exploded 30 minutes later near National Intelligence Agency prison known as Godka-jilacow", Mohamed said.

The police personnel who died had been stationed close to hotel's gate.

Witnesses in some previous attacks have said al Shabab fighters disguised themselves by wearing military uniforms.

Other victims included a senior Somali police colonel, a former lawmaker and a former government minister.

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A huge cloud of smoke rose over the hotel and there were more than a dozen wrecked cars outside.

It has not commented on the massive attack two weeks ago; experts have said the death toll was so high that the group hesitated to further anger Somali citizens as its pursues its insurgency.

"We can hear the gunfire but it is hard to know who is fighting, the forces cordoned off the building and no one can go close to it", said Abdulahi Nure. "We are fighting inside", said Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group's military operations spokesman.

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

Al-Shabab, Africa's deadliest Islamic extremist group, quickly claimed responsibility for Saturday's attack and said its fighters were inside the hotel.

Three of the five attackers were killed, Capt Hussein said.

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