IN THE SOMALI CAPITAL DOUBLE ATTACK: DOZENS KILLED

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In the capital of Somalia, Mogadishu on a busy road exploded two car bombs, according to Reuters, reports

Law enforcement authorities claim at least 22 dead and dozens injured.

The explosion occurred close to government institutions, hotels and restaurants. Destroyed several houses and dozens of cars.

The explosion appeared to target a hotel on a busy road in Hodan district and at least 15 people were injured, police Capt. Mohamed Hussein said. Security forces had been trailing the truck after it raised suspicions, he said.

Police said people were trapped in the rubble of the Safari Hotel, which was largely destroyed in the explosion. The hotel is close to Somalia’s foreign ministry. Rescue workers were at the scene.

Gunshots could be heard at the site, and ambulance sirens wailed across the capital, which has been under tight security with military-manned checkpoints.

The explosion left a trail of destruction across a busy intersection, with several bodies and bloodied slippers and shoes. Windows of nearby buildings were shattered. Overturned cars lay in the street, burning. A large plume of smoke rose nearby.

“There was a traffic jam and the road was packed with bystanders and cars,” said Abdinur Abdulle, a waiter at a nearby restaurant. “It’s a disaster,” he said sadly.

The blast occurred two days after the head of the U.S. Africa Command was in Mogadishu to meet with Somalia’s president, and two days after the country’s defense minister and army chief resigned for undisclosed reasons.

The U.S. military has stepped up drone strikes and other efforts this year against the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab, which is also fighting the Somali military and over 20,000 African Union forces in the country.

It is expected that the number of victims will increase.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the bombings. But traditionally such attacks are the militant group Al-Shabab.

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