Car bomb explodes outside Mogadishu president's residence

Reuters witnesses said gunfire could be heard after the explosion and a huge cloud of smoke could be seen above the president's palace, outside which were the remnants of the vehicle and splattered blood.

The bomb exploded during a morning traffic jam, said Capt. Mohamed Hussein, a senior police officer. The blast left a crater in the road, nearby walls collapsed and debris scattered across the usually busy carriageway.

The explosion was heard across Mogadishu, and smoke was seen billowing over the presidential compound.

"We have received 28 people who were wounded in the blast", said Mohamed Yusuf, director of the city's main Medina hospital.

Police officer Mohamed Abdulkadir said the vehicle rammed through a checkpoint and was sacked on by security forces before it exploded. He reached near the gate of the state house with flat tyres'.


The latest suicide bombing is the third attack on the same hotel in less than three years.

The al-Qaeda aligned al-Shabaab group claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that militants targeted the SYL hotel because it "is close to the presidential palace, and also home to apostates and unbelievers".

The group appears to be stepping up its attacks ahead of planned elections in Somalia, with a president due to be elected by MPs in October.

In June, gunmen stormed the Nasa-Hablod hotel, killing at least 14. The group claimed its attack had killed 15 soldiers. Doing so may result in civil and/or criminal penalties. News stories displayed here appear in our category for global and are licensed via a specific agreement between LongIsland.com and The Associated Press, the world's oldest and largest news organization. For the protection of AP and its licensors, content may not be copied, altered or redistributed in any form.


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