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Somalia

Car bomb outside Mogadishu hotel kills four

A car bomb has exploded outside a hotel in Mogadishu killing four people. No group has claimed responsibility, however the city has often been the target of attacks by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shebab militia.

At least four people were reported killed after a car bomb went off outside the Hotel Makkah al-Mukarama, popular with senior government officials and business people, in Mogadishu's Hodan district on Friday, police said.

Farah Aden, a senior police officer, told the Reuters news agency, "we understand a car laden with explosives was parked in front of the hotel...This car bomb exploded and burnt the other cars which were also parked there."

Somalia's Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon quickly condemned the attack and blamed "enemies of peace.”

"I condemn this attack in the strongest terms and send my condolences to the families and friends of all the innocent victims who were killed and wounded. Once again the enemies of peace show their true colours to the world," he said in a statement.

"These cowardly acts of terrorism will not derail the progress made in Mogadishu and across Somalia. We - the Somali people and the Somali government - will stand shoulder to shoulder to defeat these killers. These terrorists will not defeat us but make us stronger."

No group has yet claimed responsibility for Friday's attack. Mogadishu has often been the target of attacks by al-Shabab.

In September, the Islamist group claimed responsibility for a massacre at the upmarket Westgate shopping center in the Kenyan capital Nairobi that left at least 67 people dead.

hc/jlw (Reuters, AFP)