MOGADISHU: A car packed with explosives blew up outside a hotel in Mogadishu on Saturday as a minibus also exploded at a nearby junction, with the emergency services reporting “many dead bodies”.
Witnesses reported hearing gunfire and said the entire area around the Nasa Hablod hotel was sealed off by security forces to keep people away.
“A car loaded with explosives went off at the entrance of Nasa Hablod Hotel and there is gunfire,” police official Ibrahim Mohamed told AFP, saying it looked like a coordinated attack.
“There was another minibus loaded with explosives which went off a nearby intersection,” he said, confirming there were casualties but without giving an initial number.
The blasts occurred just two weeks after a huge truck bombing in the Somali capital which killed at least 358 people, making it the deadliest attack in the country’s history.
Somalia’s Aamin ambulance service said there were “many dead bodies” in a posting on its official Twitter feed, adding that it had already evacuated 15 wounded people from the area.
An AFP correspondent at the scene also reported seeing two people lying on the ground but their condition was not immediately clear.
The Nasa Hablod is a popular hotel located in the north of the city.