Twin blasts in Somalia leaves 22 dead

Local terrorist group al-Shabaab claims responsibility of the attacks which left 30 wounded

Mogadishu: Hundreds of Somali soldiers erected new security checkpoints across the capital, a day after two attacks by Islamic extremists that killed 22 people wounded 30 others, according to a Somali newspaper.

Two loud explosions rocked the centre of Mogadishu on Friday followed by automatic gunfire. Pics/AFP
Two loud explosions rocked the centre of Mogadishu on Friday followed by automatic gunfire. Pics/AFP

Government security forces patrolled the streets of Mogadishu on Saturday following the attacks on Friday night on a hotel and a nearby public garden.

Police said at least five militants from the group al-Shabab were also killed in the attacks on SYL Hotel and the Peace Garden, which each involved suicide car bombers.

First blast
The first blast, at the hotel, sent a loud booming sound across the city, shattering windows and ripping the roofs off many nearby buildings. The truck packed with 200 kilograms (440 pounds) of explosives bomb may have been the most powerful bomb used by al-Shabab in recent years, said Somali security minister Abdirizak Omar.

At the scene of the hotel blast Saturday, an elderly Somali woman raised her hands in grief, shouting “God have mercy on him” as she looked at the wreckage of her son’s car which was near the truck bomb.

Somali resident Barre Ali said the explosion at the hotel “felt like there was an earthquake.” In his bedroom, Ali pointed to cracks in the wall of his house, which is located two kilometres from the scene of the blast.

The blast at the garden was from car parked nearby. It was detonated by remote control.

More wounded are being treated at local hospitals, said Mohamed Abbas, the director of Daru Shifa hospital. Inside one hospital on Saturday, some victims of the attacks lay bleeding on the ground, screaming in pain.

Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke condemned the bombings.

“Such acts were perpetrated to terrorise (the) public and wreck the stability and development of the country,” he said in the statement.

Despite being pushed out of Somalia’s major cities, al-Shabab continues to launch deadly guerrilla attacks across the Horn of Africa nation.

Last year, al-Shabaab, which is affiliated with the international al-Qaeda terrorist network, targeted the same hotel in a suicide car bombing as Turkish delegates were preparing for the visit of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Fifteen people, all of them Somali, were killed.

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