Mogadishu blasts’ death toll swells to 11

Mogadishu, Jan 2: The death toll in the twin car bomb explosions, which targetted a hotel in Somali capital city Wednesday, risen to 11 while dozens more were injured, police and media reports said.

“We can confirm that the death toll now stands at 11 including four government soldiers and five civilians,” reported Xinhua citing police officer Yusuf Hire.

The blasts occurred as explosives-laden vehicles went off in quick succession outside the Jazeera hotel near the international airport in the capital. The hotel is frequented by government officials and local business people.

Local media reports said 10 were killed and “dozens more injured in the blasts that targeted the heavily-fortified hotel.”

Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed condemned the attack. “Terrorists have started 2014 as they finished 2013 with indiscriminate violence & killings. Will only serve to unite # Somalia against them,” Prime Minister Abdiweli tweeted.

Al-Shabaab, Somali militant group linked to Al Qaeda, has been waging deadly insurgency against Somali government and forces of Africa Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

AMISOM officials said the attack was carried by with vehicles laden with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

According to reports, the blasts were followed by exchanges of fire between security forces and the attackers, BBC reported.

Al Shabab, the Somali Islamist militant group driven out of Mogadishu in 2011, claimed responsibility for the attack.

IANS