Three dead in Somalia vehicle bombings

Bombs kill at least 7 in Mogadishu

At least six people were killed and eight others injured in a vehicle bombing outside the popular Nasahablod 2 Hotel in Mogadishu on Saturday.

Following the blasts yesterday, witnesses reported hearing gunfire at the Nasa Hablod Hotel 2 which was sealed off by security forces with gunmen believed to be inside.

Police officer Major Abdullahi Aden told Reuters the vehicle bomb said: 'They are fighting inside.

"A vehicle 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".

The Al Qaeda-affiliated militant group is fighting to topple Somalia's internationally-backed government and has carried out scores of such attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere in the country.

"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.

Other victims included a senior Somali police colonel, a former lawmaker and a former government minister. He suffered small injuries on his shoulder and head from flying glass.

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Security officials said Saturday's bomber had pretended his truck had broken down outside the gate.

The latest attack comes two weeks after a suicide truck bomb attack in Mogadishu left more than 358 people dead.

That attack also began when a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden auto outside the hotel which was then stormed by gunmen, provoking an assault that lasted several hours and only ended when special forces killed three attackers inside.

Al-Shabab often targets high-profile areas of Mogadishu.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has been appealing to neighbouring countries in a bid to drum up support in the fight against the Islamic extremist terror cult. USA military officials and others in recent months have expressed concern that Somali forces are not yet ready. Security forces cordoned off the area.

The US has been actively involving in trying to combat the group, launching 20 drone strikes.

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