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Somalia Truck Bomb Attack At Jazeera Hotel Leaves At Least 15 People Dead

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| July 27 , 2015 , 13:03 IST
At least 15 people, including a Kenyan diplomat and a Chinese embassy guard, have died in a hotel blast in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Sunday. [caption id="attachment_92791" align="aligncenter" width="700"]Somalia Hotel Attack Somalis observe the destruction as security forces secure the scene of a suicide car bomb attack in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia, Sunday, July 26, 2015. Somali police officer says a suicide car bomber has rammed his car into the protective perimeter outside a well-known hotel in the Somali capital Sunday, killing at least four people. Capt. Mohamed Hussein says the blast has caused an extensive damage on the Jazeera Hotel, which is often frequented by government officials, diplomats and foreigners. (AP Photo/Mohamed Sheikh Nor)[/caption] Police officer Abdulle Mohamed said that a suicide bomber detonated his car at the gate of the hotel and killed 15 people, with most of them civilians, a news agency reported. The attack was claimed by the al-Qaida-linked Al-Shabab group. The walled, luxury Jazeera Hotel is considered the most secure in Somalia's capital and is frequented by diplomats, foreigners and visiting heads of state. The blast killed one armed guard at the Chinese embassy inside the hotel, as well as three embassy staffers, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Monday in a statement online. "This is really scary — destroying the Jazeera hotel like this means no blast walls can make anyone safe," said bystander Yusuf Mohammed. The use of huge truck bombs is a relatively new phenomenon and throws into doubt whether any place in the capital is now adequately protected. While blast destroyed at least eight rooms and stunned the residents of the Somali capital, it wasn't as bad as it might have been because the truck, which contained a ton of explosives, was stopped at the blast walls outside the hotel. [caption id="attachment_92796" align="alignright" width="469"]Somalia Attack Somalis carry away the body of a person who was killed in a suicide car bomb attack in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia Sunday, July 26, 2015. Somali police officer says a suicide car bomber has rammed his car into the protective perimeter outside a well-known hotel in the Somali capital Sunday, killing at least four people. Capt. Mohamed Hussein says the blast has caused an extensive damage on the Jazeera Hotel, which is often frequented by government officials, diplomats and foreigners. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)[/caption] "The damage is big but a lot less because the truck bomb couldn't go beyond the walls that lay a few meters from the hotel's perimeter walls," said Mohammed Abdi, a police officer. Nervous soldiers fired in the air to disperse a crowd who surged toward the hotel after the blast as medical workers transported wounded victims into awaiting ambulances. Somalia-based militant group Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in retaliation for a recent operation by the African Union and Somali forces in the country's southern Dinsoor and Bardhere regions. The attack took place on Sunday, a day after a Somali lawmaker was killed in Mogadishu. In a statement, Al-Shabab said the attack was in retaliation for the deaths of dozens of civilians at the hands of Ethiopian forces, which are part of the AU force, and that the hotel was targeted because it hosts "Western" embassies coordinating the offensive. The attack came as President Barack Obama was leaving neighboring Kenya for Ethiopia. The president's visit has included discussions about how to deal with the threat of al-Shabab. [caption id="attachment_92798" align="alignleft" width="427"]Somalia Attack Security forces secure the scene next to destroyed vehicles following a suicide car bomb attack in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia Sunday, July 26, 2015. A Somali police officer says a suicide car bomber has rammed his car into the protective perimeter outside a well-known hotel in the Somali capital Sunday, killing at least four people. Capt. Mohamed Hussein says the blast has caused an extensive damage on the Jazeera Hotel, which is often frequented by government officials, diplomats and foreigners. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)[/caption] On Sunday, the White House Press Office issued a statement condemning the attack and extending condolences to the families of the victims. "Despite the very real progress Somalia has achieved in recent years, this attack is yet another reminder of the unconscionable atrocities that terrorist groups continue to perpetrate against the people ofSomalia," the statement read, adding that the United States remains steadfast in its commitment to work with Somalia to bring an end to such acts of terrorism. (With IANS and AP inputs)

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