At least 10 die in 2 auto bombings in Mogadishu

Bombs kill at least 7 in Mogadishu

Fighting continued to rage inside the hotel and police said the death toll was likely to rise.

Witnesses said gunmen stormed Nasa-Hablod hotel after detonating a auto filled with explosives at the entrance.

A taxi driver at the scene told AFP he saw four bodies being carried away, while another witness called Yusuf Moalim said a senior police official appeared to be among the victims, whose auto had been near the hotel entrance when the blast occurred.

"About 14 people, a lot of them civilians, were confirmed dead so far and the security forces are still working to ensure the area is clear", said security official Mohamed Moalim Adan.

The attack happened as the country's leaders converged in Mogadishu for a high level security meeting following the October 14 truck bombing that killed more than 350 people.

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

According to an Al Jazeera tally, since the start of this year, more than 20 explosions have targeted Mogadishu, killing at least 500 people and injuring more than 630.


Following the blasts, witnesses reported hearing gunfire and said the entire area around the Nasa Hablod Hotel 2 had been sealed off by security forces to keep people away.

"A auto loaded with explosives went off at the entrance of Nasa Hablod Hotel and there is gunfire", police official Ibrahim Mohamed told AFP, saying there was also "a minibus loaded with explosives which went off a nearby intersection".

He said the hotel belonged to Somalia's internal security minister, Mohamed Abukar Islow.

The Somali militant group Al Shabab said it carried out the bombings.

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".

The Somali government blamed the October 14 blast on al-Shabab, but no group has claimed responsibility.

A multinational African Union force with 22,000 troops in Somalia is expected to withdraw by the end of 2020.

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