Somalia: Death toll in Mogadishu car bomb rises to 18
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The death toll from a huge car bomb blast in Mogadishu, the Somali capital on Thursday afternoon, on 22nd March has risen to 18 from the initially reported 10, Garowe Online reports.
The explosives-rigged vehicle blew up in front of Wehliye hotel at around 4:30 p.m. local time near Sayidka junction, close to Somali Parliament building, sending plumes of thick, dark smoke into the sky.
Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab militants claimed responsibility for the attack through its Andalus radio, saying it has targeted a key meeting in the hotel by government officials, lawmakers and security officers.
Abdulaziz Ali Ibrahim, the spokesman of the security ministry told reporters at the scene that at least 14 civilians died in the terrorist attack and wounded dozens of others. He blamed the extremists for the carnage.
Footage from the scene showed damaged buildings, burning auto-rickshaws, luxury cars, blood and body parts littered the ground outside the hotel which is frequented by city's elite, MPs and civil servants.
Thursday's bombing was the second major attack in Mogadishu in two months: Last February, at least 45 people, most of them civilians died in the capital after double car bombs and gun attack near the Presidential Palace.
Scroll down for the latest video of the blast: