Family tragedy of Somalia's Mogadishu hotel owners

Many 'killed' in Mogadishu bomb blasts

Many 'killed' in Mogadishu bomb blasts

Three auto bomb explosions and gunfire rocked the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Friday, killing at least 23 people in addition to four gunmen, witnesses and health officials said.

Guards at Hotel Sahafi and the CID headquarters opened fire following the first two blasts. Then, about 20 minutes later, a third explosion hit the busy street, witnesses said.

There are fears that the death toll will rise further.

"The target of the attack was the Sahafi hotel and even though the attackers used vehicle bombs to make their way into the premises, the security forces stopped them", said Ahmed.

"Although they failed to access the hotel, the blasts outside the hotel killed many people", said Hussein. Over the last several years, the group has launched offensives that have killed hundreds of African Union forces from Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, and Ethiopia.

Somali officials say 20 people died and dozens more were hurt in blasts claimed by Islamist militant group al-Shabab.

"There was chaos after the blast". The head of a local ambulance service tells VOA his company transported 45 wounded people to the hospital.

"Armed members from the Shabab Al-Mujahideen carried (out) a complex attack targeting Sahafi hotel in Mogadishu where senior Somali government officials stay", the militant group said in a statement quoted by a pro-Shabaab website. "Abdifatah Abdirashid, the hotel owner, and three of his bodyguards died", Abdiqani said.

But they still control parts of the countryside and attack the government, military, and civilian targets, seemingly at will, in Mogadishu and regional towns.

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