government officials were meeting at the Central Hotel in Somalia’s capital when an Islamic extremist rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into the hotel gate, and another went in and blew himself up, killing at least 10 people on Friday, officials saidMogadishu’s deputy mayor and a legislator were killed in the attack, a lawmaker said, and the country’s deputy prime minister was among the wounded, said a police official.
The attack is the latest blow to the Somali government’s efforts to contain the deadly insurgency by the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab that, despite the loss of key strongholds in Somalia, continue to stage attacks in the capital and elsewhere. The Islamic insurgent group claimed the responsibility for the twin suicide bombings, according to the group’s radio station, Andulus.
“We can confirm that more than 10 persons, including politicians and soldiers were killed in that horrific attack,” said Capt. Mohamed Hussein, a senior Somali police officer.
The blast ripped off large parts of the hotel’s wall and smoke blackened its facade. Two dead bodies were lying outside the hotel in Mogadishu, and a wounded man struggled to stand up, but immediately collapsed as blood gushed from his abdomen. Soldiers had cordoned off the area.
Terrified pedestrians ran through the streets, with one survivor recounting the bloody scene.”Disaster, limbs were flying scattered around like tissue papers,” said Muhyadin Dahir, who was dust-faced and bloodied.
Somali legislator Omar Ali Nor and Mogadishu’s deputy mayor Mohamed Aden are among the dead, said lawmaker Mohamed Ali.”A dark day for our country,” Ali said.
Deputy Prime Minister Mohamed Omar Arte was rushed to a hospital, and was among several other high-ranking government officials at the hotel at the time of the attack, said police officer Hussein.