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Huge blast in hotel in Somalia’s Kismayu, followed by gunfire – police

Somali firemen try to extinguish burning cars at the scene where a car bomb exploded in front of a restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia January 29, 2019. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

A car bomb went off in a hotel in Somalia‘s port city of Kismayu where local elders and lawmakers were meeting, followed by gunfire, a police officer said on Friday.

The Islamist militant group al Shabaab, linked to Qaeda, said it had carried out a suicide attack.

“A blast occurred in Hotel Asasey in the heart of Kismayu, followed by gunfire. Local elders and lawmakers were having a meeting there. It is too early to know if there are any casualties,” Major Mohamed Abdi, a police officer, told Reuters from Kismayu.

Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operation spokesman, said the group was behind the attack and fighting was still going on.

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