Car bombs kill dozens in Somalia

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The attack was claimed by Islamist militants

Two car-bomb attacks have killed at least 38 people in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

Officials say the first took place outside the presidential palace late on Friday.

The second hit a nearby hotel. Dozens of people were wounded.

The Islamist militant group al-Shabab, which has been trying to oust Somalia’s government, says it was behind both.

A gun battle followed the attack near the presidential palace in which five militants were killed, officials say.

Friday’s bombings are the latest in a series of attacks attributed to al-Shabab, which once controlled Mogadishu before being forced out by African Union troops in 2011.

Previous attack
Last October, more than 500 people were killed by a truck bomb in the city.

Officials blamed al-Shabab but the group never said it was behind that attack.

The latest incident began when a vehicle failed to stop at a checkpoint outside the presidential palace before being blown up, state media say. This was followed by an exchange of fire between militants and security forces.

Then a parked car exploded near the hotel. However, al-Shabab said it had targeted security forces.

The group said five of its fighters, including the two drivers, had been “martyred” and 35 soldiers were killed in the attacks.

A police spokesman said, “There were many military soldiers who guarded the street adjacent to the palace.”

BBC/Sammie