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At least 29 dead after car bombing, gunfight in Mogadishu

By Nicholas Sakelaris
Destroyed and deserted buildings are seen amid fighting Friday between Somali soldiers and al-Shabab militants in Mogadishu, Somalia. Photo by Said Yusuf Warsame/EPA-EFE
Destroyed and deserted buildings are seen amid fighting Friday between Somali soldiers and al-Shabab militants in Mogadishu, Somalia. Photo by Said Yusuf Warsame/EPA-EFE

March 1 (UPI) -- At least 29 people were killed in a terror-related car bombing in Somalia, authorities said Friday.

The blast hit a busy street in Mogadishu and was immediately followed by a gun battle, police said. Militants took cover inside a building near the Maka Almukarramah Hotel as security forces gathered outside.

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Nearly 100 people were injured by the violence, a nurse told TRT World.

Al Shabab, an al-Qaida-linked terrorist group, claimed responsibility for the attack.

"Before the explosion, a street trader saw a parked vehicle with emergency lights on, we suspected the car is exploding, we started to run and then the same car exploded," journalist Abdishakur Mohamed Mohamoud told Voice of America. "It was a huge explosion throughout the city."

The Maka Almukarramah Hotel has been a frequent target of Al Shabab attacks, because government officials often stay there.

The U.S. military command for the African continent has been fighting Al Shabab for months, launching 50 airstrikes last year and 23 so far this year.

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