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Somalia: Newly elected President Hassan and foreign dignitaries survive multiple bomb blasts

MOGADISHU, Somalia Sep 12 2012 (Garowe Online) – Newly elected President Hassan Sheikh Mahamud, former Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas and Kenyan Foreign Minister Sam Ongeri survived multiple bomb blasts in Mogadishu on Wednesday, Garowe Online reports.  

The two bomb blasts were detonated subsequently. According to witnesses, one bomb blast was detonated on the busy KM 4 street in close proximity of hotel Jazira where President Hassan was meeting with Prime Minister Gaas and Kenyan Foreign Minister Ongeri and other officials Wednesday afternoon.

The other bomb blast was detonated in front of hotel Jazira where AMISOM and Somali forces were safeguarding. According to police officials, two men wearing Somali forces uniform who stormed the hotel were shot and killed as they attempted to enter the hotel.

Police officials still have not officially disclosed the number of victims in the bomb blast nor have they disclosed the number of attackers.

However sources have told Garowe Online, that there were 4 attackers 2 suicide bombers and 2 armed gunmen who were possibly wearing explosive belts, who attempted to storm the hotel where many Somali and foreign officials were meeting.

As of yet more than 10 people were killed in the multiple bomb blasts including one of former PM Gaas’ security detail , two of Somali Ambassador to Kenya Ali Ameriko's security staff and one AMISOM soldier. More than 20 forces and people were injured in the explosions.

According to local sources, the bodies of the two men were untouched as police officials believe that the two men are wearing bomb belts.

One witness stated that there were more than 5 allied forces’ bodies laying lifeless after the smoke cleared from the bomb blasts.

“The explosion was massive and after I walked back to the scene I could see many bodies of men wearing uniforms, at least 5 if I’m not mistaken. Then police started shooting, that’s when I fled ” said Fadumo Ali.  

In the heat of the moment witnesses said that soldiers fired countless bullets some possibly hitting civilians at the scene.

The terrorist organization Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the multiple bomb blasts on Wednesday.  

The Al Shabaab Twitter account read: A number of enemies killed at the venue, the operation is ongoing.

Spokesman for the terror group Ali Mohamud Ragge also gave a statement following the bomb blast, saying that the fight against the government would continue until foreign soldiers depart.

According to Somali government officials, AMISOM forces have completely taken over the security of President Hassan as they investigate the explosion.

The new President was elected in landslide victory on Monday beating the outgoing President Sharif Shiekh Ahmed.

The battle against Al Shabaab for the port city Kismayo one of the last remaining strongholds for the terror organization has intensified as the allied forces used airstrikes against Al Shabaab militants in the lower Jubba region on Tuesday.   

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