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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Fourteen killed in blast outside hotel in Somali capital

The UAE condemned the explosion as an act of terror

A person walks in front of a building destroyed by the explosion of the car bombing attack on a street in Mogadishu, Somalia, on March 22, 2018 (AFP)
A person walks in front of a building destroyed by the explosion of the car bombing attack on a street in Mogadishu, Somalia, on March 22, 2018 (AFP)

At least 14 people were killed in an explosion outside a busy hotel in Somalia's capital on Thursday that was followed by gunfire, police and rescue services said.

Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab militants claimed responsibility. The group carries out frequent bombings and other attacks in Mogadishu in a campaign to topple Somalia's Western-backed federal government.

The UAE condemned the explosion as an act of terror and affirmed its solidarity with Somalia against violence and extremism.

In a statement cited by state news agency WAM, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation called upon the international community to close ranks and collectively stand up against such acts of terror which threaten international peace and security. The MoFIC also expressed the country's condolences for the families of the victims and wished the injured a speedy recovery.

Abdiasis Ali Ibrahim, the spokesman for the internal security minister, told Radio Mogadishu that the blast had killed 14 people.

Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of Amin ambulances, had earlier said 22 people were injured in the blast.

Al Shabaab's military operations spokesman said his group had been "behind the blast", adding that the dead included soldiers and officers.

Reuters TV footage showed civilians carrying the wounded on makeshift stretchers to vehicles from Amin, which is the city's sole ambulance service and is privately-run, as security forces stood around with guns.

At least five three-wheel scooters that were passing on the road had been overturned by the blast.