Al-Shabab and Somali soldiers battle in Mogadishu

Al-Shabab and Somali soldiers battle in Mogadishu

He said the death toll could rise as numerous wounded are still being treated in hospitals.

"The security forces are engaged in rescuing civilians who are being used as shield by the terrorists", interior minister Dahir Mohamud Gelle told the state-run news agency on Friday afternoon.

The main street of Maka Al Mukaram where the blast occurred was closed on Friday. An unknown number of al-Shabab militants had remained holed up in a building near a hotel in Mogadishu since Thursday.

"We have recovered 14 more dead bodies from under the rubble of collapsed buildings, bringing the total number of dead to 19", said Aamin Ambulance director Abdikadir Abdirahman.

The overnight attack began with a pair of auto bombs exploding in a popular area of Mogadishu where Somalis were relaxing at restaurants and hotels Thursday evening.


Two dozen people were killed, police said, in an attack that Islamic extremists said was an attempt to bomb a hotel.

Al-Shabab has said it was behind the attack in the busy Maka al-Mukarama road, which has also injured more than 60.

In 2018, the USA military command for Africa reportedly carried out 50 raids against the militants.

Somalia has been engulfed in violence since the eruption of a civil war between clan-based armed factions in the early 1990s.

"The scene is fearful in magnitude it is similar to the October 14 bombing", he said, referring to a truck bomb that killed more than 500 people in the city in 2017.


When asked why recent strikes have been deadlier, a spokeswoman said Somali and "partner forces continue to make incursions into territory formerly controlled by al-Shabab", giving them chances to collect more intelligence and develop targets.

Authorities deployed a contingent of US-trained Somali troops known as the Alpha Group to try to flush out the militants on Friday, just after two wounded soldiers were carried away from the hotel.

Mogadishu has been regularly targeted by the Shabaab in its long fight to topple the government.

"Al-Shabab like attacking Maka al-Mukarama because it is in the heart of Somalia", he said.

The U.S. has dramatically increased airstrikes against al-Shabab since President Donald Trump took office. Twenty injured people were carried out.


The U.S. military is one of several security actors in Somalia, along with a multinational African Union mission and troops from Kenya and Ethiopia.

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