Suicide bombing in Somalia’s capital kills 23

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The  Nasa-Hablod hotel in Somalia’s capital was hit by a suicide car bomb on Saturday, killing 23 people people and wounding more than 30, the Associated Press reports. The bomber pretended his truck had broken down in front of the hotel’s fortified gate, then detonated a bomb. The blast is also reported to have caused massive damage to vehicles and nearby buildings.

After the detonation, the attackers went inside the building as security forces responded to the scene. Two more blasts were then heard, one of those associated with a suicide vest worn by one attacker.

Capt. Mohamed Hussein spoke from the scene, reporting that people may had been trapped in the building, as security forces battled extremists on the top floor of the hotel. Police estimated more than 20 innocent people, including government officials, were thought to be inside.

Two of the attackers were killed on the first floor, Capt. Hussein said, while three others hurled grenades. Through the night, security forces exchanged fire with the attackers.

Troops regained control of the hotel on Sunday morning, having killed three attackers and captured two alive, said Capt. Hussein.

According to the AP, Shabab, Africa’s deadliest Islamic extremist group, claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack.

One witness, Mohamed Dek Haji, reported surviving the bombing. He said he saw three armed men, in military uniforms, running toward the hotel after the suicide bombing at its gate.

“I think they were Shabab fighters who were trying to storm the hotel,” he said. Reportedly, al-Shabab fighters have disguised themselves in the past by wearing military uniforms.

Among the dead were a mother and three children, including a baby, who were each shot in the head. Also included were a senior Somali police colonel, a former lawmaker and a former government minister, Capt. Hussein reported.

Two weeks ago, over 350 people were killed in a massive truck bombing in Mogadishu, the country’s worst attack on record.

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