At least ten people have been killed in a car bomb explosion and gunfire on Wednesday afternoon targeting a hotel in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
Huge explosion heard in Somalia's capital Mogadishu followed by gunfire and a cloud of smoke (Reuters) pic.twitter.com/Hc0Xtc9Eii— africanews (@africanews) June 1, 2016
Somalia’s militant group al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the car bomb attack saying its fighters entered the premises of the popular Ambassador Hotel.
Al-Shabaab’s spokesman, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, told Reuters that they “attacked the hotel with a car bomb and went inside. We shall give details later.”
The death toll increased from three to ten and over a dozen others wounded, according to Mogadishu police who say the number is likely to increase further as they suspect the militants are inside the hotel since no one is coming out.
“So far we know 10 people, mostly pedestrians and passengers on the road, died and over a dozen were injured,” Major Ibrahim Hassan, a Mogadishu police officer, told Reuters.
The explosion has however affected neighbouring buildings and businesses operating at the time.
Somalia has been a target of attacks by the militant group al-Shabaab which aims to topple the Western-backed government.
In February, at least 14 people were killed and dozens more injured after al-Shabaab fighters set off a car bomb at a park and the entrance of the Somali Youth League hotel in Mogadishu.