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At least one killed, 12 injured in double car bomb attack in Somalia

By Omar Nor and Ray Sanchez, CNN
January 1, 2014 -- Updated 2226 GMT (0626 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Double car bombs explode near Somali hotel
  • At least one person is killed and up to a dozen wounded

Mogadishu, Somalia (CNN) -- A double car bomb attack outside of a hotel in Somalia's capital Wednesday night killed at least one person and injured up to a dozen others, police said.

Police official Yusuf Ali said the first suicide car bomb exploded outside the main gate of the Jazeera Palace Hotel, with the second blast from a parked car following as first responders began gathering to evacuate the injured. Three of the wounded were security personnel stationed outside the gate.

At the time of the Mogadishu blasts, there were several senior members of the Somali government inside the Jazeera hotel. It is believed the injured guards were part of the security detail of government officials.

Of the 12 people injured, some were seriously wounded and transported to local hospitals.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Last month, another bombing at a hotel in the capital left five people dead and at least 15 wounded, a government spokesman said.

A car bomb went off on November 8 outside Hotel Makkah Al-Mukarama in central Mogadishu, Abdikarim Hussein Guled, the African country's interior and national security minister, told local media.

Those killed included Abdulkadir Ali, the Somalian government's former acting envoy to Britain better known as "Dhub," said Abdirahman Omar Osman, presidential spokesperson.

Some of Somalia's violence has been traced to Al-Shabaab, an al Qaeda-linked organization that the U.S. government calls a terrorist group and was behind the deadly siege earlier this fall of a Nairobi, Kenya, shopping mall.

A U.S. military drone strike in southern Somalia in late October killed two suspected Al-Shabaab members, U.S. officials said. And a recent joint raid by Kenyan and Somali forces killed at least 30 people believed to be part of that group.

In September 2012, Somalia's new president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, escaped an apparent assassination attempt at the Jazeera hotel, just two days after being selected as the troubled country's new leader.

According to a presidential press officer and several journalists at the scene, early indications are that the attack was carried out by two suicide bombers who set off explosives at the gates of the Jazeera Palace Hotel, where the president was having high-level meetings.

At least four Somali government soldiers and one African Union soldier were killed in that attack, according to journalists at the scene.

Journalist Omar Nor reported from Mogadishu, and CNN's Ray Sanchez wrote this story from New York.

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