The sounds of a gun battle continue to rock Somalia’s capital Friday, a day after two car bomb attacks by insurgents were launched on one of Mogadishu’s busiest streets.
Officials say at least 20 people have been killed and 40 wounded in the bombings and the clashes between the militants and security forces.
Al-Shabab, the al-Qaida-linked terrorist group, has claimed responsibility.
An al-Shabab spokesman told Reuters that his group is in control of the Maka Almukarramah Hotel.
“The government tried three times to enter the building, but we repulsed them. We still control the hotel,” said Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabaab’s military spokesman.
The first explosion occurred just after the 8 p.m. local time Thursday when an explosives-loaded vehicle was detonated on Maka Al-Mukarama Road.
Eyewitnesses said dozens of people were sitting outside hotels and restaurants in the area when the bomb exploded.
Journalist Abdishakur Mohamed Mohamoud was sitting outside a coffee shop when it occurred.
“Before the explosion, a street trader saw a parked vehicle with emergency lights on, we suspected the car is exploding, we started to run and then the same car exploded,” Mohamoud told VOA. “It was a huge explosion throughout the city.”
An hour after the explosion, a second one occurred near the busy K4 junction in Mogadishu.