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29 October 2017, 01:52 | Colleen Roy
Double car bombing strikes Mogadishu
At least six people were killed and eight others injured in a auto bombing outside the popular Nasahablod 2 Hotel in Mogadishu on Saturday.
Speaking to The Associated Press by telephone from the scene, Capt. Mohamed Hussein said more than 20 people, including government officials, were thought to be trapped as security forces continued to battle the extremists holed up on the top floor.
Two suicide bombers detonated vehicle bombs outside the entrance.
Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of Mogadishu's Amin ambulance service, said 17 injured people had been carried away from the hotel blast. A few minutes later a auto bomb exploded near the former parliament house nearby.
"Security forces have entered a small portion of the hotel building. the exchange of gunfire is hellish", he said.
The suspected suicide bomber is believed to have detonated near the gate of the hotel close to the presidential palace at around 5pm local time.
"We can confirm that the president was not at the hotel at the time of the attack", he said. The dead also included a former member of parliament, he said.
The Somali government blamed the October 14 blast on al-Shabab, but no group has claimed responsibility. "We are fighting inside", said Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group's military operations spokesman.
Two more blasts were heard, one when an attacker detonated a suicide vest on Saturday.
Its sister hotel, the Nasahablod, was targeted by Al Shabab in a similar attack that killed 11 people in June past year.
Al-Shabab has been involved in 987 of 1,827 attacks by militant Islamist groups in Africa this year, according to the Africa Center for Security Studies in Washington, D.C. The Somali group has had a long affiliation with al-Qaeda but now appears to be cooperating with ISIS, controlling much of the countryside, analysts said.
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