Major blasts hits Somali capital Mogadishu

Major blasts hits Somali capital Mogadishu

According to an Al Jazeera tally, since the start of this year, more than 20 explosions have targeted Mogadishu, killing at least 500 people and injuring more than 630.

The attack started with what is assumed to have been a suicide vehicle bomb detonated outside the Nasa-Hablod 2 Hotel 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.

Two more blasts were heard in the area, with one reported as a suicide bombing.

"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 a witness called Abdulahi Nure.

He suffered small injuries on his shoulder and skull from flying glass.

Two suicide bombers detonated vehicle bombs outside the entrance.

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Photo Rescuers carry an injured man after a truck bombing on Saturday in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Police said earlier a suicide auto bomb had been rammed into a hotel and a former government building had been attacked.

The United States under President Trump has made a renewed push to defeat the Shabab, Somali-based militants who have terrorized the country and East Africa for years, killing civilians across borders, worsening starvation and destabilizing a broad stretch of the region.

He also faces the challenge of pulling together regional powers inside his long-fractured country, where the federal government is only now trying to assert itself beyond Mogadishu and other major cities.

All of the militants were killed in the 2014 attack, as well as at least five Somali security officials.

He said the hotel belonged to Somalia's internal security minister, Mohamed Abukar Islow.

The US military also has stepped up military efforts against al Shabab this year in Somalia, carrying out almost 20 drone strikes, as the global war on extremism moves deeper into the African continent.

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