41 dead, 106 injured in Mogadishu bombings

41 dead, 106 injured in Mogadishu bombings

The number of people killed when suicide bombers and gunmen struck a popular hotel in Somalia's capital has risen to 39 from the initial 22, police said on Saturday.

Twin auto bombs exploded in the capital within moments of each other, followed by gunfire and a third blast, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the sky, according to an AFP reporter.

The two hotels are located just a few meters away from Criminal Investigation Division headquarters in an area of restaurants and bars.

The first two blasts took place nearly simultaneously at 4 p.m. outside the Sahafi hotel, while the third came 20 minutes later in the garage of the adjacent Hayat hotel. "The death toll is sure to rise", Ali Nur, a police officer in the city, told Reuters.

Fifty-two Somali officials were rescued from the Sahafi Hotel and the Hayat Hotel, he said.

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Insurgents group operating in the country, Al-Shabaab, have reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.

"Most of these people were civilians and almost 20 of them died in minibuses that were passing by the road when the blast occurred", he added. Some of the vehicles were buses, which caught fire. "Abdifatah Abdirashid, the hotel owner, and three of his bodyguards died", Abdiqani said.

"I've pulled many dead bodies from the cars", said Mohamed Aden, a witness of the attack.

The militant group al-Shabab, which has waged an insurgency for more than 10 years, said it carried out the attack.

But they still control parts of the countryside and attack government, military, and civilian targets, seemingly at will, in Mogadishu and towns in the region.

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