A car bomb exploded outside a hotel at a busy junction in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Saturday, with officials and witnesses fearing many casualties from the unusually large blast.
“There was a huge blast caused by a truck loaded with explosives. It went off at the entrance of a hotel alongside the K5 intersection,” security official Mohamed Adan said.
“There are casualties, both death and injuries, but we don’t have details yet.”
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Al-Qaeda aligned Al-Shabaab carries out frequent suicide bombings in the capital and elsewhere as it fights to overthrow the internationally-backed government.
Witnesses said the blast, which threw a thick cloud of smoke into the sky that could be seen across the city, badly damaged a nearby hotel and left scenes of devastation on the busy road.
“This was very horrible, the bomb went off alongside the busy road and left many people dead.
“I saw several dead bodies strewn about but could not count them,” witness Ismail Yusuf said.
“It was horrible.”
Muhidin Ali, a Mogadishu resident who was close by at the time, said it was “the biggest blast I have ever witnessed, it destroyed the whole area”.