10 dead, more than 11 wounded in Mogadishu hotel blast

A suicide car bomb exploded outside a popular hotel in Somalia’s capital on Saturday, killing at least 10 people and wounding more than 11, while gunfire could be heard inside, police said. A second blast was heard in the area minutes later.

Capt. Mohamed Hussein said the gunfire was heard inside the Nasa-Hablod hotel, which is close to the presidential palace and is frequented by politicians and other members of Mogadishu’s elite.

Saturday’s blasts came 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.

The al-Shabaab extremist group quickly claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack and said its fighters were inside the hotel.

Al-Shabaab often targets high-profile areas of Mogadishu. It has not commented on the attack two weeks ago; experts have said the death toll was so high that the group hesitated to further anger Somali citizens as it pursues its insurgency.

Since the blast two weeks ago, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has visited regional countries to seek more support for the fight against the extremist group, vowing a “state of war.”

A 22,000-strong multinational African Union force in Somalia is expected to withdraw its forces and hand over the country’s security to the Somali military by the end of 2020.

The U.S. military also has stepped up military efforts against al-Shabaab this year in Somalia, carrying out nearly 20 drone strikes.

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CBC | World News