Somalia blast: Mogadishu hotel rocked by bomb

At least 10 people have been killed in a huge bomb explosion at a hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu. A BBC correspondent1 in the city says a lorry was used to attack the Jazeera Palace Hotel near the airport. Ambulances have been collecting the dead and wounded in what he describes as one of the worst scenes of destruction he has seen in Mogadishu.

Somali militant Islamist group al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack. The al-Qaeda linked group said it was responding to assaults by an African Union force and the Somali government. The blasts came as President Barack Obama was leaving Kenya for Ethiopia, at the end of a trip during which he had discussions about dealing with the threat from al-Shabaab.

Soldiers from the African Union mission patrol the Somali capital

International diplomats often stay at Jazeera Palace Hotel2, which has been targeted in the past.

It also accommodates several embassies including those of China, Qatar and Egypt. “A suicide car bomb exploded at the gate of Jazeera Hotel,” Major Nur Osoble, a police officer, told Reuters news agency. A government security officer was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying hotel security guards were among the dead.

Al-Shabaab is battling Somalia’s government for control of the country. While security in Somalia has improved, the group still attacks Mogadishu regularly. On Saturday, a member of the Somali parliament and an official from the prime minister’s office were killed in separate attacks in the capital claimed by al-Shabaab.

In recent days the group has lost two of its remaining strongholds – the south-western town of Bardere3 and the south-eastern town of Dinsor4.

Both had been under Shabaab control since 2008.

The militants have also targeted neighbouring countries, killing almost 150 people in an assault on Garissa University College in Kenya in April.

References

  1. ^ BBC correspondent (twitter.com)
  2. ^ Jazeera Palace Hotel (www.jazeerapalace.com)
  3. ^ Bardere (www.bbc.co.uk)
  4. ^ Dinsor (www.bbc.co.uk)

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