Bombs kill at least 7 in Mogadishu

Police officer Major Abdullahi Aden told Reuters the auto bomb said: 'They are fighting inside.

A taxi driver at the scene told AFP he saw four bodies being carried away, while another witness called Yusuf Moalim said a senior police official appeared to be among the victims, whose vehicle had been near the hotel entrance when the blast occurred.

Somali-based insurgent group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack and said its fighters remain inside the hotel.

Nasa-Hablod hotel is located near Somalia's presidential palace and frequently used by Somali politicians, including ministers and lawmakers.

The attack came two weeks after a massive truck bomb exploded in central Mogadishu, killing at least 358 people, making it the deadliest attack in the troubled country's history.

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Mohamed Dek Haji said he survived the bombing as he walked beside a parked auto that was largely destroyed by the explosion.

"I think they were al-Shabab fighters who were trying to storm the hotel", he said, lying on a hospital bed.

Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of Mogadishu's Amin ambulance service, said 17 injured people had been carried away from the hotel blast.

He suffered small injuries on his shoulder and skull from flying glass.

Two more blasts were heard in the area, with one reported as a suicide bombing.

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"We can hear the gunfire but it is hard to know who is fighting, the forces cordoned off the building and no one can go close to it", said Abdulahi Nure.

In the first attack, a suicide vehicle bomb rammed into the popular Nasahablod Two hotel, about 600 metres from the presidential place, before gunmen stormed the building.

Al-Shabab often targets high-profile areas of Mogadishu.

A 22,000-strong multinational African Union force in Somalia is expected to withdraw its forces and hand over the country's security to the Somali military by the end of 2020.

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  • Ryan Wade