Somalia auto bomb attack leaves at least 20 dead, police say

Somalis carry away an injured civilian who was wounded in a bomb blast near the Sahafi hotel in the capital Mogadishu Somalia

Twin auto bombs detonated in Mogadishu within moments of each other, followed by gunfire and a third blast a while later.

Mogadishu faces frequent bombings at the hands of Al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda affiliate which has been fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed Somali government for over a decade.

Guards at Hotel Sahafi and CID officers opened fire after the blasts, police added.

The death toll from Friday's vehicle bomb and gun attacks in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, has risen to 39, with at least 40 people wounded, police have said. "The death toll is sure to rise", Ali Nur, a police officer in the city, told Reuters.


Two auto bombs exploded near the Sahafi Hotel and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) on Friday afternoon, before a third bomb, placed in a three-wheeled "tuk-tuk", exploded on a busy street near the hotel. The third auto was remotely detonated.

Abdifatah Abdirashid, who took over the Sahafi from his father after he was killed in a militant attack in 2015, was among those who died in Friday's attack, said Mohamed Abdiqani, a witness at the hotel. Security forces shot dead four gunmen who tried to storm through a hole in the hotel's wall but did not succeed in entering. They said the security forces eventually killed the assailants and rescued dozens of people from hotel rooms.

A Reuters photographer saw 20 bodies as well as several destroyed vehicles at the scene of the incident.

Somalia has been engulfed by violence and lawlessness since dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled in the early 1990s.

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