Car bomb blast kills 9 at Mogadishu hotel

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Mogadishu, June 25 (IANS) At least nine people were killed and 15 were wounded in a car-bomb attack followed by an invasion of the premises by armed gunmen at a hotel in the Somalian capital on Saturday, local media reported.

Witnesses to the apparent terrorist attack told Efe news that the gunmen have taken an undetermined number of hostages inside the hotel.

A large column of smoke could be seen over the Nasa-Hablod Hotel in Mogadishu, where gunfire continues to be heard, and local police said that security forces are mounting an operation to free the hostages, among whom may be a government official.

Local reports said that the attackers are members of the Al Shabaab jihadist group, an affiliate of Al Qaeda in Somalia which in recent months has attacked numerous hotels and restaurants in the capital, according to the Shabelle News Web site.

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