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Terrorism

Deadly bomb blasts hit Mogadishu hotel

An investigation has been launched after a series of bomb blasts took place within an hour outside a hotel in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu. The hotel is one that is regularly frequented by foreigners.

Police and witnesses said the blasts occurred within an hour outside the Jazeera Hotel, which is situated near a United Nations compound and Mogadishu's international airport.

Initial reports spoke of up to three blasts. One of the explosions is said to have occurred after emergency services workers arrived to investigate an initial.

The director of a private ambulance service the told Reuters news agency that at least 11 people had been killed and 17 others wounded in the attacks. The casualty numbers have not been independently confirmed.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the bombings, but previous such attacks have been carried out by the al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels of the group al-Shabab.

Their latest major attack came in mid-November in the central town of Beledweyne when a suicide car bomber blasted open a police compound before commandos entered and sprayed gunfire, killing 16.

The Jazeera Hotel is popular with foreigners and government officials. It has been the target of previous terrorist attacks, and in September 2012 was the scene of an assassination attempt on Somalia's president on only his second day in office.

tj/pfd (AP, AFP, Reuters)