, Mogadishu, Feb 20 – Somalia’s Shabaab insurgents killed at least 11 people and wounded many others Friday in an attack on a Mogadishu hotel while senior government officials were inside, police said.
However, an official at the presidential palace said at least 25 people had been killed and that the toll was expected to rise due to the severity of injuries among the wounded.
“The building was badly hit, the explosion was very big, and I saw the bodies of 11 people carried away,” said police officer Abulrahman Ali.
“There were very many wounded people too, many of them seriously.”
Government sources said that the deputy mayor of Mogadishu was among those killed, while the deputy prime minister and minister of transport were among the injured.
“There were people covered in blood, I counted 10 dead bodies but that was only in one area,” said Ali Hussein, who was close to the hotel when the attack took place during Friday prayers.
The Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shabaab rebels have staged a string of similar attacks in their fight to overthrow the country’s internationally-backed government.
The extremists say they are targeting MPs for permitting the deployment of foreign African Union troops on Somali soil.