A auto bomb exploded outside a hotel on a busy junction in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, on Saturday, with officials and witnesses fearing many casualties from the unusually large blast.
Police said people were trapped in the rubble of the Safari Hotel, which was largely destroyed.
Shortly after the first blast the second explosion was reported in Mogadishu's Wadajir disctict.
Mohamed Hussein says the blast occurred overnight (NZT) as security forces were trailing the truck that had raised suspicions. "I saw several dead bodies strewn about but could not count them", said witness Ismail Yusuf.
"I was in a public service vehicle when the explosion went off".
"This was very awful incident".
Bystanders said the explosion was the most powerful they had heard in years. Police said they suspect a suicide attack.
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Indian forces' personnel fired bullets, pellets and teargas shells to disperse the protesters, injuring dozens of them. Reports said following the attack police, paramilitary and army rushed to the village to nab the assailants.
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The hotel is close to Somalia's foreign ministry, which has been under tight security with military-manned checkpoints. Authorities believe the truck was going to target a hotel in the area.
In any case, the devastation caused was widespread.
Photo There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Saturday's blast, though the Shabab militant group has recently stepped up attacks.
A Somali soldier helps a civilian wounded in a blast in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017.
The recent attacks have taken place in the capital and nearby areas.
Saturday's blast comes two days after Somalia's defence minister and army chief both resigned from their posts without explanation.