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Al Shabab-claimed Mogadishu suicide bombings kill dozens

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Al Shabab-claimed Mogadishu suicide bombings kill dozens
Al Shabab-claimed Mogadishu suicide bombings kill dozens. Reuters/F. Omar
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At least 53 people were killed in a series of blasts in Mogadishu, authorities said on Saturday, a day after al-Shabab militants detonated four car bombs and attacked a popular hotel in the Somali capital.

The death toll includes seven terrorists who tried to storm the Sahafi Hotel, which is often visited by government officials.

"Some families are searching for their loved ones because they are still missing, as several whose bodies were burned badly beyond recognition were found in civilian vehicles," local hospital director Muhammad Yusuf told the DPA news agency.

Read more: Mogadishu suicide bombing kills children and soldiers

Blasts and gunfire

Four car bombs exploded outside the Sahafi Hotel, which is located across the street from the Somali Police Force's Criminal Investigations Department, Friday afternoon. After the three explosions in front of the hotel, a fourth blast hit as ambulances rushed to rescue the injured.

The suicide bombers tried to storm through a hole blown into the hotel's wall but did not succeed in entering, said police officer Muhammad Hussein.

"Although they failed to access the hotel, the blasts outside the hotel killed many people," said Hussein.

"The street was crowded with people and cars, bodies were everywhere," Hussein Nur, a shopkeeper, told The Associated Press. "Gunfire killed several people, too."

The al Qaeda-linked militant Islamist group al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack.

Violence and lawlessness have spiked in the African country since dictator Muhammad Siad Barre's government was toppled in the early 1990s.

Read more: Somalia: Nine dead after bomb blasts rock capital Mogadishu

shs, dj/rc (Reuters, AP)

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