Over 12 people have been killed and thirty others sustained injuries after a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden car near the gate of the presidential palace in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.
The blast caused extensive damage to nearby buildings, including the SYL Hotel which was then hosting security meeting that brought government officials and civil society representatives.
Somali minister for information, Mohamed Abdi Hayir Mareye who spoke to the state owned media said Somali minister for Ports, Noor Farah Hirsi was among the government officials injured in the attack.
“Minister for ports and some of the staff of the information minister are among the individuals wounded in the terror attack near SYL Hotel,” said Mareye who left SYL hotel few minutes before the explosion took place.
The bomber rammed his truck into the gates of the hotel, targeting lawmakers and ministers holding a meeting there, according to Al-Shabaab military operations spokesman Sheikh Abdulaziz Abu Musab via Radio Andalus.
The SYL Hotel is frequented by diplomats, government officials, foreign nationals and even hosts visiting heads of state. It was already targeted in February and last year in two attacks that killed a total of nearly 40 people.
This attack barely a week comes after over nine people killed after four Al-Shabaab fighters attacked popular restaurant alongside Mogadishu’s offshore.
Al-Shabaab which wants to topple internationally recognised Somali government has carried out several deadly attacks in Somalia’s main towns.
In less than a week, the group attacked three towns with explosions killing over fifty people and 120 other sustained injures.
Two people were on Sunday night killed in a grenade attack in Mogadishu’s Suka-holaha neighborhood in Heliwa district.
Al-Shabaab was driven from the capital city in 2011 by Somali and AU troops.
Despite the well organised offensives by Somali forces backed AU troops, the group still controls large swath of rural areas in south and central Somalia.
Al-Shabaab group plans to disrupt Somalia’s elections scheduled to take place later this year that will culminate in the appointment of a new president.