At least 17 dead as three auto bombs explode in Somalia

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The death toll from a triple vehicle bombing in Somalia's capital Mogadishu has risen to 40, including seven terrorists, a senior police officer says.

Al-Qaeda-affiliated terror group Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the bombings, saying it had killed a number of people. It is reported that the first of three explosions, however, once on the scene arrived physicians, came fourth.

In Somalia, a suicide attack in the capital Mogadishu, killing at least 20 people.

The two hotels are located just a few meters away from Criminal Investigation Division headquarters in an area of restaurants and bars.

The blasts, which occurred within minutes of each other, targeted the Sahafi Hotel and its surroundings.

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"These terrorists have massacred civilians at a time when people were out to spend time during the weekend".

"The death toll may rise because some people are still missing".

Among the dead was Sahafi owner Abdifatah Abdirashid, whose father was killed in a similar attack on the same hotel three years ago, according to Radio Dalsan. "Many more were wounded", witness Abdirahman Suleyman told AFP.

"Armed members from the Shabab Al Mujahideen carried out a complex attack targeting Sahafi hotel in Mogadishu where senior Somali government officials stay", the militant group said in a statement quoted by a pro-Shabab website. These Shabaab assaults have forced African Union troops to withdraw from several cities and towns in southern Somalia.