‘Massive explosion’ hits Mogadishu hotel

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MOGADISHU, June 25, 2016 (AFP) – A huge blast rocked a hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Saturday, followed by heavy machinegun fire, said an AFP photographer at the scene.
“There is heavy fire going on inside the hotel, it started after the massive explosion but we cannot know what is going on,” Abdihafid Mudey, who lives near the hotel, told AFP.
Several security sources confirmed to AFP that an attack was under way without giving further details.
A loud explosion was heard at around 16:30 pm (1330 GMT), according to AFP reporters in Mogadishu.
The violence comes just three weeks after an attack on the city’s Ambassador hotel left 10 dead when a huge car bomb ripped the front off the six-storey building.
Gunmen from the Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab group besieged the hotel for more than 12 hours.
The Naasa Hablood hotel in the south of Mogadishu is often used by politicians and members of the Somali diaspora visiting the city.
The group lost its foothold in the capital in 2011 but continues its battle to overthrow the Somali government and launches regular attacks on military, government and civilian targets like hotels and restaurants in Mogadishu and elsewhere.

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