In Somalia, the attack took place, killing 20 people

Somalis carry away an injured civilian who was wounded in a bomb blast near the Sahafi hotel in the capital Mogadishu Somalia

The al-Shabaab terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attacks, which took place during the afternoon rush hour on a busy street near a checkpoint that controls access to Mogadishu International Airport, reports Efe news.

At least 17 people were killed after blasts struck a popular hotel and the police headquarters in Somalia's capital, Reuters reported on Friday.

Explosions thundered in the heart of the hotel Sahafi Hotel.

Three vehicle bombs were detonated near the Sahafi Hotel, police told CNN.

But Bashir Hassan Farah, another ambulance medic, later said he saw 20 dead bodies, majority civilians.

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Mohamed Osman Abas, director of Darul Shifa hospital, said 26 critically wounded people were being treated at that facility from the three auto bomb explosions and gunfire that rocked the city Friday.

After three initial explosions in front of the hotel in Mogadishu, a fourth blast hit as medics attempted to rescue the injured. Over the last several years, the group has launched offensives that have killed hundreds of African Union forces from Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, and Ethiopia. "Most of the dead and wounded were civilians", added Awil Mohamed, another witness.

According to sources, the fatalities included the son of the owner of the hotel, Abdirashid Ilqeyte, who was killed in a Shabaab attack on the establishment in November 2015.

Following a series of deadly suicide auto bombs inside Somalia's capital Mogadishu today, al Qaeda's East African branch, Shabaab, has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

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