News World Death toll soars after Somalia suicide bomber hits hotel in late-night attack
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Death toll soars after Somalia suicide bomber hits hotel in late-night attack

Flames light up the night after the attack tore the hotel apart. Photo: Mwalimu Diriye
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The death toll from a late night car bombing near a hotel in Somalia’s capital has left at least 18 dead, with officials fearing the  tally could soar as  security forces battle Islamic gunmen in surrounding streets.

Capt. Mohamed Hussein said at least 40 others were injured in the attack on Thursday near a hotel and a judge’s residence on a busy street in Mogadishu.

He said early Friday that security forces were still fighting to neutralise some militants holed up inside a building close to Maka Almukarramah hotel, which the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab said had been the target.

Witnesses said the hotel was hit by a suicide bomber, with a guerilla squad of Al-Shabab opening fire on rescue workers and police who raced to the scene.

While the death toll stands officially at 18, officials fear many of those rushed to hospital with horrific injuries will not survive.

Al-Shabab has targeted the Maka Almukarramah hotel, which is frequently patronised by government officials, multiple times in the past.

-AAP