Truck bomb kills more than two dozen in Mogadishu

Posted October 15, 2017

A huge blast was heard in the center of Mogadisho.

The explosion occurred outside the Safari Hotel, a popular place but not one that is commonly used by government officials.

The blast on Saturday, in the central city's K5 Junction which is lined with government offices, hotels and restaurants, destroyed several buildings and set dozens of vehicles on fire.

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There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Police say 20 people were killed in the explosion in Mogadishu and at least 15 were injured.

Witnesses said the blast, which threw a thick cloud of smoke into the sky that could be seen across the city, badly damaged a nearby hotel and left scenes of devastation on the busy road.

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A police captain told the Associated Press that security forces were following the truck in Hodan district when it exploded. Rescue workers were at the scene.

The sound of ambulance sirens can be heard across the capital, and gunfire can be heard at the site of the blast. The explosion left a trail of destruction across a busy intersection. Windows were shattered for blocks around the epicenter of the carnage. Another witness said there was a traffic jam and that the area was packed with people and cars when it happened. Overturned cars lay in the street, burning. "It's a disaster", he said sadly.

The U.S. military has stepped up drone strikes and other efforts this year against the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab, which is also fighting the Somali military and over 20,000 African Union forces in the country.

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