MOGADISHU, Somalia — Four car bombs exploded outside a hotel in the capital, Mogadishu, on Friday afternoon, killing at least 20 people and injuring 17, the police said. The Islamic extremist group the Shabab claimed responsibility.
After three devices exploded in front of the hotel, a fourth blast hit as medics tried to rescue the injured.
The bombs detonated near the perimeter wall of the Sahafi Hotel, which is across the street from the Somali Police Force’s Criminal Investigations Department, said Capt. Mohamed Hussein.
Some of the victims were burned beyond recognition when one car bomb exploded next to a minibus, he said.
Somali security forces fatally shot four gunmen who tried to storm through a hole blown into the hotel’s wall but did not succeed in entering, he said.
“Although they failed to access the hotel, the blasts outside the hotel killed many people,” Capt. Hussein said.
“The street was crowded with people and cars; bodies were everywhere,” said Hussein Nur, a shopkeeper who shrapnel injuries. “Gunfire killed several people, too.”
Among the dead was the manager of the Sahafi Hotel, whose father was the owner before he was killed in a Shabab attack there in 2015, Capt. Hussein said.