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Somalia blast hits Kismayu hotel, and police say at least three killed

Neelam Rahim | neelam@radioislam.co.za

2 min read | 3:12 pm CAT

An explosives-laden motor rammed into the gate of a hotel and exploded on Sunday in an attack that killed at least three people in Somalia’s port city of Kismayu, said a police officer and resident, adding gunfire also erupted.

The state-run Somali National Television said on Twitter that security forces were dealing with a “terrorist incident” at the hotel.

“So far, there are three people dead and eight others injured, who were taken to Kismayu hospital,” Farah Mohamed, a security officer, told Reuters from Kismayu.

Witnesses said a massive blast was heard before the gunfire started.” The security forces have besieged the scene,” Farah Ali, a shopkeeper in Kismayu, said.

There was no immediate word on casualties.

Al Qaeda, linked to Al Shabab, claimed responsibility for the attack. The group’s spokesman Abdiasis Abu Musab said the target was Jubbaland region’s administrators who work from the hotel.

Kismayu is the commercial capital of Jubbaland, a region of southern Somalia still incompletely controlled by al Shabaab.

Al Shabaab was driven out of Kismayu in 2012. The city’s port had been a significant source of profit for the group from levies, watercolour exports and impositions on arms and other illegal contents.

Among the group’s recent attacks was a suicide attack that killed two people, including a soldier, in central Somalia on Wednesday.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s government has faced a sharp increase in Al Shabab’s exertion since his election in May and has promised to wage” war” against them.

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