MOGADISHU: At least eight people were killed when a car bomb rammed into one of Mogadishu´s top hotels Wednesday and a second vehicle exploded as the wounded were being treated.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the attack, which also appeared to involve a commando of gunmen, bore all the hallmarks of Somalia´s Al Qaeda-linked Shebab group.
“A booby-trapped car exploded against hotel Jazeera,” near a United Nations complex, police officer Muhidin Ahmed told AFP. “It appears to be a suicide attack.”
He was not immediately able to provide an accurate casualty toll for the first blast, but a witness spoke of at least five dead.
The second car bomb ripped through the blast scene as ambulances rushed in and Somali soldiers were helping the wounded.
“Another car loaded with explosives went off as security forces were trying to assist victims,” police officer Mohamed Warsame said.
“I counted eight bodies, most of them soldiers,” said witness Abdikarim Hassan.
The Jazeera hotel, near the international airport, is one of the seaside capital´s most upmarket and its clientele includes Somali politicians and visiting foreign officials.
Eyewitnesses also reported an intense exchange of gunfire between assailants and security officers between the back-to-back blasts. (AFP)