Two car bombs killed at least 23 people in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Saturday, police said, two weeks after a huge truck bomb killed hundreds of civilians in the city.
Islamist group al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attacks on Saturday. A suicide car bomb was rammed into a hotel, Nasahablod Two, about 600 meters from the presidential palace, and then armed militants stormed the building, police said.
A few minutes later, a car bomb exploded near the former parliament house nearby.
Ali Nur, a police officer, told reporters 23 people, mostly policemen, had died in the blasts.
“Security forces have entered a small portion of the hotel building … the exchange of gunfire is hellish,” he said.
The police personnel who died had been stationed close to hotel’s gate. The dead also included a former lawmaker, he said.
Fighting continued to rage inside the hotel after the blast and police said the death toll was likely to rise.
Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of Amin ambulances, told Reuters the emergency service had carried 23 people injured from the hotel bombing.