The death toll in three car bomb explosions carried out outside a luxury hotel in the Somali capital has risen to 30, officials said on Saturday.
The Somali terror group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attacks, which took place on Friday on a busy street near a checkpoint that controls access to Mogadishu International Airport.
Mohamed Abshir, a worker for Amin — the only free ambulance service operating in Mogadishu — told the local media that the death toll had risen after some of the hundreds of injured succumbed to their injuries and more bodies were recovered from the scene, Efe news reported.
The first two blasts took place almost simultaneously at 4 p.m. outside the Sahafi Hotel, while the third came 20 minutes later in the garage of the adjacent Hayat Hotel.
Several terrorists were killed trying to enter the Sahafi after the explosions, security sources told Radio Dalsan on Friday.
The two hotels are located just a few metres away from the Criminal Investigation Division’s headquarters in an area full of restaurants and bars.
Among the dead was Sahafi owner Abdifatah Abdirashid, whose father was killed in a similar attack on the same hotel three years ago, according to Radio Dalsan.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that the Somalis would not be dissuaded in their search for a lasting peace and political stability and sent his condolences to the families of the victims.
Al-Shabaab, affiliated to Al Qaeda, controls part of the territory in the centre and south of the African country and aims to establish an Islamic state in Somalia based on the Wahhabi version of Islam.
The group has carried out various attacks in the African country, including strikes against the African Union Mission in Somalia military bases, killing hundreds of soldiers from Kenya, Burundi, Uganda and Ethiopia.