MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) – Twenty-five people were killed and 40 wounded in suicide attacks at a hotel in Somalia’s capital on Friday, the Somali government said Saturday.
One Islamic extremist rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into the gate of the Central Hotel, and another went in and blew himself up, a statement from Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke’s office said.
Government officials were meeting at the Central Hotel at the time, and the statement said Mogadishu’s deputy mayor and two legislators were among the dead. It was unclear whether the government’s report of 25 dead included the two bombers.
Al-Shabab, Somalia’s Islamic extremist rebels, claimed responsibility for the attack. Despite the loss of key strongholds in Somalia, al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaida, continues to stage attacks in the capital, Mogadishu, and elsewhere.
Somalia’s president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud condemned the attack and said it would not derail efforts by his government to restore peace to Somalia which is recovering from decades of war.
This is the second attack on a hotel in Mogadishu in less than a month. On Jan. 22, three Somali nationals were killed when a suicide car bomber blew himself up at the gate of a hotel housing the advance party of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who visited the country days later.
Al-Shabab controlled much of Mogadishu during the years 2007 to 2011, but was pushed out of Somalia’s capital and other major cities by African Union forces.