Death toll from Somalia hotel attack rises to 39

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A Somali security officer looks toward the scene of twin car bombs that exploded within moments of each other in the Somali capital Mogadishu on November 9, 2018. (AFP)
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A Somali soldier uses his mobile phone at the scene of twin car bombs that exploded within moments of each other in the Somali capital Mogadishu on November 9, 2018. (AFP)
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The scene following twin car bombs that exploded within moments of each other in the Somali capital Mogadishu on November 9, 2018. (AFP)
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The scene following twin car bombs that exploded within moments of each other in the Somali capital Mogadishu on November 9, 2018. (AFP)
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Somali security officers run from the scene of an explosion in Mogadishu, Somalia November 9, 2018. (Reuters)
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Somali security officers run from the scene of an explosion in Mogadishu, Somalia November 9, 2018. (Reuters)
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Smoke billows from the scene of an explosion in Mogadishu, Somalia November 9, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 10 November 2018
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Death toll from Somalia hotel attack rises to 39

  • Suicide attackers set off 4 bombs at a hotel near the headquarters of Somalia’s Criminal Investigations Department
  • Militant group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack on the Hotel Sahafi in Mogadishu

MOGADISHU: Suicide attackers set off two car bombs at a hotel in Mogadishu on Friday, killing at least 39 people, police said.

Previous reports had indicated 29 fatalities from the attack, but police confirmed a total of 39 civilians died with 40 others injured.


The militant extremist group Al-Shabab, linked to Al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack on the Hotel Sahafi, which is near the headquarters of Somalia’s Criminal Investigations Department (CID).
Hotel guards and CID officers opened fire after the blasts, police added. Then, about 20 minutes later, a third explosion from a bomb placed in a three-wheeled “tuk-tuk” vehicle near the hotel hit the busy street, witnesses said.
Some of the victims were burned beyond recognition when one car bomb exploded next to a minibus, said a police official.

The scene following twin car bombs that exploded within moments of each other in the Somali capital Mogadishu on November 9, 2018. (AFP)

“Four militants who attempted to enter the hotel were shot dead by our police and the hotel guards,” police captain Mohamed Ahmed told Reuters.
“Two other militants were suicide car bombers who were blown up by their car bombs. The third car was remotely detonated. So in total 28 people died, including the six militants.”
Abdifatah Abdirashid, who took over the Sahafi from his father after he was killed in a militant attack in 2015, was among those who died in Friday’s attack, said Mohamed Abdiqani, a witness at the hotel.
“The militants who entered the hotel compound faced heavy gunfire from the hotel guards. Abdifatah Abdirashid, the hotel owner, and three of his bodyguards died,” Abdiqani said.
“Although they failed to access the hotel, the blasts outside the hotel killed many people,” the police official said.
“The street was crowded with people and cars, bodies were everywhere,” said Hussein Nur, a shopkeeper who suffered light shrapnel injuries on his right hand. “Gunfire killed several people, too.”
A Reuters photographer at the scene saw 20 bodies of civilians and burnt-out minibuses, motorbikes and cars.

Somali security officers run from the scene of an explosion in Mogadishu, Somalia November 9, 2018. (Reuters)

Abdiasisi Abu Musab, Al-Shabab’s spokesman for military operations, said the group had singled out the Sahafi for attack because of its association with the government the extremists want to overthrow.
“We targeted it because it acts as government base. Government officials and security forces are always in the hotel,” he told Reuters.
Somalia has been engulfed by violence and lawlessness since dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled in the early 1990s.

 

* With Reuters and AP.


Theresa May to request short delay to Brexit: UK media

Updated 25 min 23 sec ago
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Theresa May to request short delay to Brexit: UK media

  • The delay, nearly three years since the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU, leaves the Brexit divorce uncertain

LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May will request a short delay to Brexit in a letter to the European Union on Wednesday, the BBC and Sky reported on Wednesday.
The delay, nearly three years since the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, leaves the Brexit divorce uncertain with options including leaving with May’s deal, a longer delay, a disruptive exit, or even another referendum.
Just 9 days before the March 29 exit date that May set two years ago by serving the formal Article 50 divorce papers, May is due to write to European Council President Donald Tusk to ask for a delay.
But the ultimate length of the delay was unclear amid the political chaos in London, with the BBC reporting that May would not ask for a long delay. A spokeswoman in May’s Downing Street office did not immediately comment on the reports.
The divorce deal May agreed with the EU in November has been defeated twice by parliament though May hopes to put the deal to another vote, possibly as early as next week.
May has warned that if parliament did not ratify her deal, she would ask to delay beyond June 30, a step that Brexit’s advocates fear would endanger the entire divorce.