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Suicide car bombers kill at least 17 in Somalia

MOGADISHU: Suicide attackers set off two car bombs at a hotel near the headquarters of Somalia’s Criminal Investigations Department in Mogadishu on Friday, killing at least 17 people, police said.

Guards at Hotel Sahafi and CID officers opened fire after the blasts, police added. Then, about 20 minutes later, a third explosion hit the busy street, witnesses said.

“So far we have confirmed 17 civilians dead. They were traveling in public vehicles at the scene when the blasts and gunfire occurred. The death toll is sure to rise,” Ali Nur, a police officer in the city, told Reuters.

A Reuters photographer at the scene saw 20 bodies of civilians and several burnt-out shells of mini-buses, motor-bikes and private saloon cars.

Mohammed Hussein, another police officer, had earlier told Reuters that the target of the attack was Hotel Sahafi, which is just opposite the CID office.

No group immediately claimed responsibility so far.

Read More: At least 16 dead in Somalia suicide bombings: police

At least 16 people had been killed in Somalia, on October 13, in suicide bombings that targeted a restaurant and coffee shop, police said.

Suicide bombers walked into the two locations in the southwestern city of Baidoa and detonated their vests within minutes of each other, according to witnesses.

The blasts came a day before the first anniversary of a truck bombing that left more than 500 dead in Mogadishu, the worst ever attack in Somalia which was blamed on Al-Shabaab.

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