MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — At least two people were killed and Somalia’s deputy prime minister is among some officials who were wounded in a suicide bomb attack Friday on a hotel near the presidential palace in the capital, a Somali police official said.
One person rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into the gate of the hotel, and another suicide bomber then entered the hotel and blew himself up, Capt. Mohammed Hussein told The Associated Press.
Al-Shabab, an Islamic insurgent group, claimed the responsibility for the attack, according to the group’s radio station, Andulus.
Two bloodied bodies were lying outside the hotel in central Mogadishu, as soldiers cordoned off the area and fired bullets into the air to disperse approaching crowds.
Deputy Prime Minister Mohamed Omar Arte was rushed to a hospital, and was among several other high-ranking government officials at the hotel at the time of the attack, Hussein said.
“They don’t care about life, humans and Muslims,” said an elderly woman sobbing beside the dead body of a man outside the hotel.
This is the second attack on a hotel in Mogadishu in less than a month. On Jan. 22, three Somali nationals were killed when a suicide car bomber blew himself up at the gate of a hotel housing the advance party of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who visited the country days later. A Somali intelligence official said that the Turkish delegation of around 70 members was staying at the hotel at the time of the attack but were unharmed.
Despite major setbacks in 2014, al-Shabab continues to wage a deadly insurgency against Somalia’s government and remains a threat in Somalia and the East African region. The group has carried out many attacks in Somalia and in neighboring countries, including Kenya, whose armies are part of the African Union troops bolstering Somalia’s weak U.N.- backed government.
Al-Shabab controlled much of Mogadishu during the years 2007 to 2011, but was pushed out of Somalia’s capital and other major cities by African Union forces.
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