12 killed in Mogadishu blasts, Al-Shabaab claims responsibility

Mogadishu, Feb 27 (IANS) At least 12 people were killed and 16 others injured in Mogadishu blasts that targetted a popular park and a hotel near the Somali presidential palace, police said.

According to police officer Said Muse, the first blast occured at the gate of “peace garden” on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported.

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Somalia-based militant group Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

“Car bomb rammed into the gate of garden, which caused more deaths. We can confirm that seven people were killed in the garden,” Muse said.

The officer also noted that another explosion took place near SYL hotel which witnessed attacks before, saying the second explosion resulted in the deaths of 5 women who were employed as cleaners on the streets.

A journalist, who was at the scene the moment of the explosion told Xinhua that the blast was huge.

“I was inside the peace garden when the explosion occurred, and I was shocked and I immediately did not run towards the gate because I was afraid that there is another explosion. I jumped out of the wall. Everyone was in a panic,” Radio Mogadishu journalist Mohamed Roraye who survived the attack, said.

Two killed in Mogadishu hotel attack

Mogadishu, Feb 27 (IANS) At least two people were killed and eight others injured after two huge explosions took place at a popular hotel in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, police said.

Security officer Muktar Omar told Xinhua news agency that the security forces are still fighting the gunmen who forced their way inside SYL Hotel located near the presidential palace on Friday.

“It’s still too early to give the exact number of casualties as fighting is still underway,” Omar said.

“Car bomb hit the gate of the SYL hotel while many Somalis were inside. There were many casualties, but we can’t establish the number of the deaths or the wounded people,” the police officer near the scene told Xinhua, adding that after the explosion, militants stormed the hotel.

Huge blasts followed by heavy gunfire could be heard from SYL Hotel as fighting between security forces and gunmen ensued.

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