Two car bombs killed at least 17 people in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Saturday, police said, and Islamist group al Shabaab claimed responsibility. A suicide car bomb was rammed into a hotel, Nasahablod Two, about 600 meters from the presidential palace, and then armed militants stormed the building, police said.

A few minutes later a car bomb exploded near the former parliament house nearby. Ali Nur, a police officer, told Reuters 17 people, mostly policemen, had died in the blasts. “Security forces have entered a small portion of the hotel building … the exchange of gunfire is hellish,” he said. The police personnel who died had been stationed close to hotel’s gate. The dead also included a former lawmaker, he said. READ MORE