Relatives carry the dead body of a civilian killed in an explosion outside a hotel near the international airport in Mogadishu
Relatives carry the dead body of a civilian killed in an explosion outside a hotel near the international airport in Mogadishu, July 22, 2019.

MOGADISHU - At least 17 people were killed in a car bombing in Mogadishu on Monday, medical sources tell VOA's Somali service.

The director of Mogadishu’s largest hospital, Dr. Mohamed Yusuf, said another 28 people were taken to the hospital with injuries.  

The explosion occurred when a suspected suicide bomber detonated a vehicle near a hotel close to the busy K-4 junction in Mogadishu.

Witnesses told VOA Somali that the vehicle was turned back from a security checkpoint that leads to Mogadishu’s Aden Abdulle International Airport.

Al-Shabab militants claimed responsibility for the attack.

The explosion comes just four days after the killing of a senior al-Shabab intelligence officer.

Security sources told VOA Somali that Mohamed Nur Ikhlaas, head of al-Shabab’s domestic intelligence, was killed in an apparent U.S. airstrike near the town of Kunyo Barrow in the Lower Shabelle region on Thursday night.

Ikhlaas was well known to the security branches, as he held the post for a long time. He was al-Shabab's top political officer, according to security sources.