At least 17 people were killed and 28 others wounded when a bomb went off outside a hotel near the international airport in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Monday, medical officials said.
The loud explosion was followed by heavy gunfire in Mogadishu.
The Al Qaeda-linked Islamist group al Shabaab, which is trying to topple Somalia’s weak U.N.-backed government, claimed responsibility for the attack.
The city’s Madina hospital received 17 bodies and 28 people with injuries, 12 of them in critical condition, said Mohammed Yusuf, the hospital’s Director.
“The blast went off at the first checkpoint on the K4 road that leads to Mogadishu airport,” said Farah Hussein, a shopkeeper who witnessed the attack.
Somalia has been split by war since 1991, when clan warlords overthrew a dictator, then turned on each other.