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29 October 2017, 01:20 | Rufus Hill
10 dead in Somali capital suicide car bomb attack
At least 10 people, including a former lawmaker and a police official were killed and more than eight others wounded in two suspected suicide vehicle blasts at a hotel in capital Mogadishu on Saturday evening, according to police.
Following further explosions, police said they were battling militants on the top floor of the hotel, where more than 20 civilians may be trapped inside.
Police said earlier a suicide vehicle bomb had been rammed into a hotel and a former government building had been attacked.
"A auto loaded with explosives went off at the entrance of Nasa Hablod Hotel and there is gunfire", police official Ibrahim Mohamed told AFP, saying there was also "a minibus loaded with explosives which went off a nearby intersection". Sporadic gunfire could be heard in the vicinity.
The blast comes just two weeks after 350 people were killed on the streets of Mogadishu when a truck bomb exploded in the city's worst ever terror attack.
Al Jazeera's Mohammed Adow, reporting from Nairobi, Kenya, said at least three heavily armed Al-Shabab gunmen have gained entry to the Nasa-Hablod hotel and that fighting was still going on.
A third blast is understood to have been caused by the detonation of an attacker's suicide vest as the militants - reportedly disguised as Somali military personnel - hurled grenades and cut off the building's electricity.
"The Mujahedeen fighters are inside Nasa Hablod 2 hotel where... apostate officials are staying", said a brief statement posted on a pro-Shabaab website, quoting Andalus.
Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of Amin ambulances, told Reuters the emergency service had carried 17 people injured from the hotel blast.
He said the hotel belonged to Somalia's internal security minister, Mohamed Abukar Islow. No one has claimed responsibility for that attack.
A multinational African Union force with 22,000 troops in Somalia is expected to withdraw by the end of 2020.
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