Mogadishu bombings death toll jumps to over 40
The death toll from a series of car bombings near a popular hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu has jumped to at least 41, police said on Saturday.
Twin car bombs detonated in Mogadishu within moments of each other, followed by gunfire and a third blast a while later.
The attack took place near the Sahafi Hotel and Criminal Investigation Division (CID) police headquarters.
Hotel guards and CID officers opened fire after the twin blasts. A third blast hit the busy street near the hotel about 20 minutes later, according to witnesses.
Friday's attack was the latest in a wave of bombings by al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda affiliate which has been fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed Somali government for over a decade.
Twin car bombs exploded within moments of each other, followed by gunfire and a third blast, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the sky.
Police official Ibrahim Mohamed said that information received from various hospitals indicated that the number of dead had reached 41, with another 106 wounded.
"Most of these people were civilians and nearly 20 of them died in minibuses that were passing by the road when the blast occurred," he added.
Another security official, Abdirahman Osman, told AFP that nearly 50 had been confirmed dead so far, although the final number was not yet known.
Al-Shabaab were forced out of the capital by African Union troops in 2011.
But they still control parts of the countryside and attack government, military and civilian targets, seemingly at will, in Mogadishu and regional towns.
In 2017, Somalia saw the deadliest attack in its history after a truck bombing killed more than 500 people in the capital.
Last month, a suicide bombing at a restaurant and a blast at a nearby hotel killed at least 16 people and injured 30 others in Somalia's southwestern town of Baidoa, authorities said.
The bomber caused most of the casualties when he walked into a restaurant and detonated explosives strapped around his waist, Col. Ahmed Muse told The Associated Press.
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