Death toll from Somalia hotel attack rises to 39

The blast occurred near the headquarters of Somalia's Criminal Investigations Department

At least 17 people were killed after blasts struck a popular hotel and the police headquarters in Somalia's capital, Reuters reported on Friday.

An initial "two blasts struck the perimeter of the Sahafi hotel along the main road... more than 10 people died, a lot of them civilians and some security guards", said police official Ibrahim Mohamed.

The first two blasts took place nearly simultaneously at 4 p.m. outside the Sahafi hotel, while the third came 20 minutes later in the garage of the adjacent Hayat hotel.

The death toll from a triple vehicle bombing in Somalia's capital Mogadishu has risen to 40, including seven terrorists, a senior police officer says.

Somali security officials who responded to the attack say four militants entered the hotel and went to the roof, firing on people down below.

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Fifty-two Somali officials were rescued from the Sahafi Hotel and the Hayat Hotel, he said.

According to sources in Somalia, the fatalities included the son of the owner of the hotel, Abdirashid Ilqeyte, who was killed in a Shabaab attack on the establishment in November 2015. The blasts appeared to be suicide bombs that detonated near the perimeter wall of the hotel. The head of a local ambulance service tells VOA his company transported 45 wounded people to the hospital. This increased the casualties.

The militant group al-Shabab, which has waged an insurgency for more than 10 years, said it carried out the attack.

But they still control parts of the countryside and attack the government, military, and civilian targets, seemingly at will, in Mogadishu and regional towns.

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