Somali officials say dozens of people were killed or wounded when al-Shabab militants attacked a Mogadishu hotel with two vehicle bombs and a gun assault Wednesday.
Dr. Abdulkadir Abdirahman Aden, the head of ambulance services in Mogadishu, says medical teams have collected the bodies of 28 people so far.
Earlier, the Somali government said more than 50 others were injured. The National Union of Somali Journalists said seven journalists were among those wounded.
The attack started just before 9 a.m. local time when a suicide bomber detonated a truck filled with explosives outside the Dayah hotel, according to witnesses. The hotel is frequented by business people and members of parliament.
Moments later, another vehicle arrived with four armed militants, who stormed the damaged hotel and exchanged fire with hotel guards and security forces. The gunmen also entered a building next to the hotel where they killed two security agents.
Amid the gunfire, the vehicle that brought the gunmen exploded, injuring bystanders. Officials believe it was detonated by remote control.
A video report from the scene, filed by VOA’s Somali service, showed at least two sides of the hotel completely ripped away and flames leaping from the roof of a nearby building.
Islamic militant group al-Shabab, which has carried out similar attacks on Mogadishu hotels in the past, claimed responsibility on its website for Wednesday’s attack.