Truck bomb kills more than two dozen in Mogadishu

BREAKING

The reporter said buildings around the area were severely damaged by the explosion, and several destroyed cars on the road were burning.

"The bomb went off alongside the busy road and left many people dead". While the group has lost large swathes of territory and was forced out of Mogadishu by African Union troops in 2011, the Shabaab continues to stage regular attacks in the capital and countryside.

Later on Saturday, a second blast took place in the city's Madina district.

"This was very disgusting", witness Ismail Yusuf told AFP news agency.

"For 10 years I have been in the emergency service, this is the first I have witnessed".

The so-called "Kilometre 5" junction is in the Hodan district, a bustling commercial part of the city with many shops, hotels and businesses.

The explosion was followed by gunfire between security forces and armed men around and inside the popular Safari Hotel.

CBC News reported that the attack targeted a hotel on the central street. Muhidin Ali, a Mogadishu resident who was close by at the time said it was, "the biggest blast I have ever witnessed, it destroyed the whole area".

Gunshots could be heard at the site of Saturday's attack, and ambulance sirens wailed across the capital, which has been under tight security with military-staffed checkpoints.

The blast occurred two days after the head of the U.S. Africa Command was in Mogadishu to meet with Somalia's president, and two days after the country's defense minister and army chief resigned for undisclosed reasons.

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