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Family tragedy of Somalia's Mogadishu hotel owners

Family tragedy of Somalia's Mogadishu hotel owners

Suicide attackers set off two auto bombs at a hotel near the headquarters of Somalia's Criminal Investigations Department in Mogadishu on Friday, killing at least 17 people, police said.

Hotel guards and CID officers opened fire after the twin blasts.

"The target of the attack was the Sahafi hotel and even though the attackers used vehicle bombs to make their way into the premises, the security forces stopped them", said Ahmed.

Abdiaziz Ibrahim, a former spokesperson for the Internal Security Ministry, who was at the scene, told CNN the attacks lasted 20 minutes and happened "one after the other".

A witness who was inside the hotel at the time said on condition of anonymity that the front of the building was destroyed by the force of the explosions, which blew out windows.

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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Sahafi Hotel owner Abdifatah Abdirashid was a renowned businessman who took over running the hotel from his father, Abdirashid Mohamed.

A Reuters photographer at the scene saw 20 bodies of civilians and burnt-out minibuses, motorbikes and cars. The blasts appeared to be suicide bombs that detonated near the perimeter wall of the hotel.

"I've pulled many dead bodies from the cars", said Mohamed Aden, a witness of the attack.

Reports from online sources indicate that militant group Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for Friday's triple bombing in Mogadishu.

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