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Somalia: At least 85 dead in Mogadishu blasts


Somalia: At least 85 dead in Mogadishu blasts

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Media captionThe aftermath of the explosion in Mogadishu

A massive bomb attack in a busy area of the Somali capital Mogadishu has killed at least 85 people, officials say.

Dozens more were wounded when a lorry packed with explosives detonated near the entrance of a hotel.

Police say two people were killed in a second bomb attack in the Madina district of the city.

It is not clear who staged the attacks. Mogadishu is a regular target for the al-Qaeda linked al-Shabab group, which is battling the government.

President Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo" Mohamed has declared three days of mourning for the victims of the blast.

Local media reported families were gathering in the area on Sunday morning, looking for missing loved ones amidst the ruins of one of the largest bombs ever to strike the city.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The death toll continues to rise after the deadly blast
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption There are fears people are trapped under the rubble

After the first blast, police captain Mohamed Hussein told Reuters news agency: "It was a truck bomb. There are casualties but we do not know the exact amount as the scene is still burning."

Witnesses told the BBC they believed dozens of people were dead.

Skip Twitter post by @FarahBashirs

Huge blast errupted near safari hotel @HassanIstiila @HussienM12

— Farah Bashir (@FarahBashirs) October 14, 2017


End of Twitter post by @FarahBashirs

Skip Twitter post by @HassanIstiila

The director of @AaminAmbulance services said they had carried an unknown number of dead and injured. #Somalia

— Somalia Live Update (@HassanIstiila) October 14, 2017


End of Twitter post by @HassanIstiila

A BBC Somali reporter at the scene said the Safari Hotel had collapsed, with people thought to be trapped under the rubble.

Mogadishu resident Muhidin Ali told news agency AFP it was "the biggest blast I have ever witnessed, it destroyed the whole area".

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