29 October, 2017
Extremists attacked a Mogadishu hotel Saturday with a vehicle bomb, a suicide vest, grenades and firearms, killing at least 23 people, including a baby, wounding more than 30 and trapping dozens of people on the building's upper floors.
Police Colonel Mohamed Abdullahi says the bomber stopped outside the heavily fortified hotel and pretended to fix the vehicle before finally turning it around and detonating.
Mohamed Ahmed, a tuk-tuk driver, who was driving by the Nasa-Hablod hotel at the time of the attack, said he "saw a auto exploding at the gate of the hotel".
The suspected suicide bomber is believed to have detonated near the gate of the hotel close to the presidential palace at around 5pm local time.
Other victims included a senior Somali police colonel, a former lawmaker and a former government minister.
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Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of Mogadishu's Amin ambulance service, said 17 injured people had been carried away from the hotel blast. Sporadic gunfire could be heard in the vicinity. "We are fighting inside", Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group's military operations spokesman, told Reuters.
President of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohammed, escaped death on Saturday, after the al-Shabab militant group attacked Hotel Naasa-Hablood, where he was scheduled to hold a meeting. There was no immediate claim as to who was responsible for the blast.
Its sister hotel, the Nasahablod, was targeted by Al Shabab in a similar attack that killed 11 people in June a year ago.
The twin attack came just two weeks after a massive truck bomb exploded in central Mogadishu, killing at least 358 people, making it the deadliest attack in the troubled country's history.
Turkish Foreign Ministry condemned Saturday's terrorist attack in Somali capital Mogadishu that claimed the lives of at least 10 people, Anadolu reported.