Death toll from Somalia hotel attack rises

GUNFIRE Guards at Hotel Sahafi and CID officers opened fire after the blasts

GUNFIRE Guards at Hotel Sahafi and CID officers opened fire after the blasts

The attack took place in the vicinity of the Sahafi hotel and Criminal Investigation Division (CID) police headquarters.

Twin auto bombs exploded within moments of each other, followed by gunfire and a third blast, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the sky.

Hotel guards and CID officers opened fire after the twin blasts.

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.

There are fears that the death toll will rise further.

Reports from online sources indicate that militant group Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for Friday's triple bombing in Mogadishu.

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Mohamed Abshir from Amin ambulance service told Efe that 14 people were killed, while the ambulance service said on Twitter that it had transported 45 injured people to hospitals.

"I saw nine dead bodies along the road and they were civilians, some of them riding on rickshaws when the blasts occurred. Abdifatah Abdirashid, the hotel owner, and three of his bodyguards died", Abdiqani said.

"This area is always dense and traffic jams are normal. Most of the dead and wounded were civilians", added Awil Mohamed, another witness.

The al-Shabab militant group claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was targeting government officials at the hotel.

"The attack was opened with a martyrdom auto bomb blast and the fighters made their way into the building". These Shabaab assaults have forced African Union troops to withdraw from several cities and towns in southern Somalia.

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