At least 13 people have lost their lives and more than 15 were injured by three explosions in Mogadishu. Islamist group al Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Police say a third explosion was heard outside of a hotel in the Somali capital. They also said that gunfire has been heard inside. The third explosion is believed to be from a suicide bomber who reportedly disguised himself as a Somali soldier.
The three explosions come just two weeks after truck bombings left hundreds dead in Mogadishu. The group did not claim responsibility for the attacks but authorities believe they were behind them as they have carried out similar attacks in the past. After the attacks, residents in the capital and other cities protested against the group.
Captain Mohamed Hussein confirmed that police were exchanging fire with the group inside of a hotel. Reports say the two explosions happened near the gates of a hotel located close to the presidential palace. A local reporter said that a police commander and a former MP are among the victims.
A police officer told Reuters that the second car bomb occurred at the ex-parliament house. The officer added that there were military forces in there.
The group has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack and said that its fighters are inside the hotel. Reports say the hotel is owned by Somalia’s interior security minister.
Police have confirmed the exchange of fire with the group but the hotel and a nearby restaurant have reportedly been evacuated. The attacks took place in busy areas of Mogadishu.
On October 14, a truck bombing killed at least 358 people and injured hundreds more. The attack also happened in a busy area of the capital. It was the deadliest attack in the country. A second bombing occurred minutes later, killing two people.
A few days after the attack, thousands of Somalis demonstrated against those behind the bombings. The crowd defied police, who fired shots to keep them from entering the area where the attacks happened. The government buried more than 150 victims that could not be identified.
Al Shabaab did not claim responsibility for the attacks two weeks ago but did claim responsibility for the one today. Police believe the group was involved in the previous attack as similar attacks have happened in the country in recent years.