Mogadishu attacks: At least 20 people killed after three car bombs explode outside hotel in Somali capital
Security forces shot dead four gunmen who tried to storm the hotel, say police, who warn death toll 'sure to rise'
At least 20 people have been killed after four car bombs exploded outside a hotel in the Somalian capital of Mogadishu.
Police captain Mohamed Hussein said the blasts appeared to be have been caused by suicide bombs detonated near the perimeter wall of the Sahafi Hotel, which is across the street from the Somali national police force’s criminal investigations department.
Security forces shot dead four gunmen who tried to storm the hotel, he said.
Police officer Ali Nur said: “They were travelling in public vehicles at the scene when the blasts and gunfire occurred.”
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Witnesses reported seeing dozens of bodies in the street.
Pictures showed badly damaged buildings in the road where the bombs went off, as well as the burnt-out shells of mini-buses and cars.
Video footage showed the third blast, reportedly about 20 minutes after the first two, sending a huge plume of smoke into the sky.
Islamic extremist rebel group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to its Adalus radio station.
Mr Hussein said the gunmen tried to storm through a hole in the hotel wall, but were shot by police and guards before entering the building.
“The street was crowded with people and cars, bodies were everywhere,” said Hussein Nur, a shopkeeper who suffered light shrapnel injuries on his right hand. “Gunfire killed several people too.”
Additional reporting by agencies