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Death toll rises to 14 in Mogadishu bombings

Death toll rises to 14 in Mogadishu bombings”

A truck bomb detonated outside a hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, minutes before gunmen on foot stormed the building on Saturday afternoon, killing at least 19 people and wounding at least 15 others, state media reported.

Witnesses in some previous attacks have said al Shabab fighters disguised themselves by wearing military uniforms.

"A auto 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".

Al-Shabab has been involved in 987 of 1,827 attacks by militant Islamist groups in Africa this year, according to the Africa Center for Security Studies in Washington, D.C. The Somali group has had a long affiliation with al-Qaeda but now appears to be cooperating with ISIS, controlling much of the countryside, analysts said. One senior police official and a former MP were among the dead.

The attack on the Nasa-Hablod hotel, near the presidential palace, appeared to have devolved into an ongoing battle between militants and government security forces Saturday night.

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"We can hear the gunfire but it is hard to know who is fighting, the forces cordoned off the building and no one can go close to it", said Abdulahi Nure.

Police official Ibrahim Mohamed said the attack started when a auto bomb went off at the entrance to the hotel while "a minibus loaded with explosives" was detonated at a nearby intersection.

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

The Somali government blamed the October 14 blast on al-Shabab, but no group has claimed responsibility.

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



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