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Minister among 10 killed in Somalia explosions

Minister among 10 killed in Somalia explosions

Mogadishu: At least 10 people, including senior government officials, were killed and several others injured in explosions that rocked a hotel in Somalia's capital Mogadishu Friday, police and witnesses said.

Mohamed Yusuf, spokesman for the Somali ministry of national security, said the bomb killed several people, including two parliament members.

Police and eyewitnesses said loud explosions were heard at the Central Hotel, usually frequented by politicians and foreigners.

The officials were meeting in the hotel, including the deputy prime minister who reportedly suffered a slight wound in the attack.

A female suicide bomber carried out a deadly attack at the hotel, former lawmaker Salad Ali Jelle told Xinhua news agency.

Jelle said the female attacker blew herself up at a mosque inside the hotel at noon when occupants were preparing for Friday prayers.

"Among those killed are minister for seaports, deputy mayor of Mogadishu and a parliament member," said a police officer who declined to be named.

He said the country's minister for aviation and a lawmaker were among those wounded during the explosions.

The Al Shabaab terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack via its online radio station. Police said they were investigating the incident.

Rescue operations were underway and the exact number of casualties was still unclear, while police at the scene told Xinhua that they have so far confirmed 10 deaths. An earlier Xinhua report had put the toll at 20.

The attack came amid an ongoing police counter-insurgency operation which killed one Al Shabaab militant and led to the arrest of several others. Police had reported that some of the militants had escaped and were being pursued.

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