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Bomb explodes at hotel in Somali capital, two dead: police

A suspected car bomb exploded at the entrance to a hotel in the center of the Somali capital early on Sunday morning, damaging parts of the hotel and killing at least two people, a police officer and a witness said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility after the blast, which was followed by gunfire.

The Islamist militant group al Shabaab has frequently launched attacks in Mogadishu, often detonating a bomb to break through security and then sending fighters into buildings.

“A car bomb rammed into the gate of Sahafi hotel. So far I have seen two civilians dead,” Major Ahmed Nur, a police officer, told Reuters.

The hotel, which lies in a place in the capital known as K-4, is often used by lawmakers and government officials.

“K-4 is the busiest street and the death toll may rise. We believe al Shabaab was behind it,” Nur said, after the blast sent a plume of smoke above the capital on the Indian Ocean coast.

A Reuters witness saw wrecked cars and destroyed motorbikes in the area, as well as two dead civilians lying outside. At least three others were injured. Some parts of the hotel were damaged, while the witness reported shooting inside.

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