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27 March 2018, 06:26 | Tara Lloyd
Wave of bombings leave nearly 20 dead, dozens injured in Somalia
At least 14 people were killed when al Shabaab set off a bomb outside a busy Mogadishu hotel on Thursday.
One of the vehicle bombs exploded at a key checkpoint in Mogadishu, killing four people and injuring at least four others, according to medical sources. The road has been a target of attacks in the past by the Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab, the deadliest Islamic extremist group in Africa.
Somali police said the blast had killed at least four people along with the driver of the auto, and injured around 10 others.
Somali police are reporting a large explosion followed by gunfire near parliament headquarters in the capital, Mogadishu.
"There was a heavy blast here and the number of casualties we have is so far 14 killed and a number of others wounded", said Abdiazis Ali Ibrahim, a security ministry spokesman.
The second auto bomb on Sunday was detonated at a checkpoint after soldiers stopped a suspicious vehicle, senior police Captain Mohamed Hussein told The Associated Press.
In the wake of that attack, Somalia's government declared a fresh offensive against al- Shabaab.
Officer Mohamed Abdi told the AP that the earlier explosion that day had occurred after soldiers inspected another "suspicious" vehicle that was stuck on a road in the Siinka Dheer area. At least three people, in addition to the bomber, were killed, a police chief said.
Thursday's attack comes about a month after a twin auto bombing in Mogadishu left 38 people killed.
The U.S. military, which has stepped up efforts against al-Shabab in the past year with dozens of drone strikes, has said Somali forces are not yet ready.
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