14 killed and 10 wounded in bomb attack near Somalia hotel

14 killed and 10 wounded in bomb attack near Somalia hotel
Somalis help a wounded civilian after a car bomb exploded in Mogadishu, Somalia Thursday, March 22, 2018. Somali officials say at least 14 people have been killed and others wounded in a car bomb blast near a hotel in the capital, Mogadishu. Photo credit: AP/Farah Abdi Warsameh.

At least 14 people were killed and 10 others wounded in a car bomb blast near a hotel in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, officials have said.

Captain Mohamed Hussein said the explosion occurred near the Weheliye hotel on the busy Makka Almukarramah road.

The road has been a target of attacks in the past by the Somalia-based extremist group al Shabab, the deadliest Islamic extremist group in Africa.

Most of the casualties were passers-by and traders, Capt Hussein said.

The toll of dead and wounded was announced by security ministry spokesman Abdulaziz Hildhiban.

Al Shabab frequently attacks Mogadishu's high-profile areas such as hotels and military checkpoints.

A lorry bombing in October killed 512 people in the country's deadliest-ever attack.

Only a few attacks since 9/11 have killed more people. Al Shabab was blamed.

Injured civilians, wounded during a car bombing in Mogadishu, Somalia on Thursday March 22 are assisted. Photo credit: AP/Farah Abdi Warsameh
Injured civilians, wounded during a car bombing in Mogadishu, Somalia on Thursday March 22 are assisted. Photo credit: AP/Farah Abdi Warsameh

Thursday's blast comes almost exactly a month after two car bomb blasts in Mogadishu shattered a months-long period of calm in the city, killing at least 21 people.

The Horn of Africa nation continues to struggle to counter the Islamic extremist group.

Concerns have been high over plans to hand over the country's security to Somalia's own forces as a 21,000-strong African Union force begins a withdrawal that is expected to be complete in 2020.

The US military, which has stepped up efforts against al Shabab in the past year with dozens of drone strikes, has said Somali forces are not yet ready.

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