Triple vehicle bombings in Mogadishu kill at least 18 people, police say

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The owner of Sahafi Hotel in Somalia's capital Mogadishu has been killed in bomb attacks - three years after his father died in a similar assault.

Twin auto bombs exploded in the capital within moments of each other, followed by gunfire and a third blast a while later, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the sky, according to an AFP reporter.

According to the police, a group of gunmen then tried to access the hotel but were killed by armed guards. "The death toll is sure to rise", Ali Nur, a police officer in the city, told Reuters.

Insurgents group operating in the country, Al-Shabaab, have reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.

Somali security officials who responded to the attack say four militants entered the hotel and went to the roof, firing on people down below.

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The suicide bombs detonated near the perimeter wall of the Sahafi Hotel, which is located across the street from the Somali Police Force's Criminal Investigations Department, said Capt. Mohamed Hussein.

Mohamed Abshir from Amin ambulance service told Efe that 14 people were killed, while the ambulance service said on Twitter that it had transported 45 injured people to hospitals. They were traveling in public vehicles at the scene when the blasts and gunfire occurred. At least 20 people have been left dead and dozens others wounded from the blasts.

The hotel is frequented by government officials and other members of Somalia's elite.

"The attack was opened with a martyrdom auto bomb blast and the fighters made their way into the building".

But they still control parts of the countryside and attack government, military and civilian targets, seemingly at will, in Mogadishu and regional towns.

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