14 die in Mogadishu hotel explosion


Somalia’s security ministry spokesperson says at least 14 people have been killed and 22 wounded when an explosion went off outside a busy hotel in Mogadishu on Thursday .

“So we counted at least 20 civilian casualties, 14 of them were dead, they were all civilians’‘, said Abdi-aziz Ali Ibrahim.

Police and rescue services say the incident was followed by gunfire.

Eye witnesses interviewed by AFP described a car bomb that exploded during rush hour on a busy street in the capital, facing a hotel with significant security features as it was regularly used by several government officials.

Video uploaded to a social media website showed a hospital vehicle arriving as people walked past debris burning on the street in the wake of the blast.

Al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militants claimed responsibility. The group carries out frequent bombings and other attacks in Mogadishu in a campaign to topple Somalia’s Western-backed federal government.

Al Shabaab’s military operation spokesman said his group had carried out the attack.