Bombs kill at least 7 in Mogadishu

Bombs kill at least 7 in Mogadishu

At least two people have been killed and eight injured after Mogadishu was rocked by two bombs in quick succession, according to reports.

Police officer Major Abdullahi Aden told Reuters the auto bomb said: 'They are fighting inside.

The first explosion was reportedly caused by a vehicle bomb.

"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". A few minutes later a vehicle bomb exploded near the former parliament house nearby.

"Security forces have entered a small portion of the hotel building ... the exchange of gunfire is hellish", he said.

"I think they were al-Shabab fighters who were trying to storm the hotel", he said, lying on a hospital bed. One senior police official and a former MP were among the dead.

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A huge cloud of smoke rose over the hotel and there were more than a dozen wrecked cars outside.

Security officials said Saturday's bomber had pretended his truck had broken down outside the gate. Sporadic gunfire could be heard in the vicinity.

Terror group Al-Shabab, which has links to al-Qaeda, often targets high profile areas in the city. "We are fighting inside", Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group's military operations spokesman, told Reuters.

The Shabaab has made attacks on hotels - commonly beginning with a suicide vehicle bombing followed by an invasion by gunmen - a regular strategy in its decade old battle to overthrow successive internationally-backed governments in Mogadishu.

Nasa-hablood hotel is located near the presidential palace in Mogadishu.

President of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohammed, escaped death on Saturday, after the al-Shabab militant group attacked Hotel Naasa-Hablood, where he was scheduled to hold a meeting. At least 358 people were killed and about 400 injured, with numerous victims burnt beyond recognition.