Huge explosion rocks Somali capital Mogadishu: Witnesses

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At least 15 wounded people rushed to a hospital after the explosion collapsed walls and left cars mangled in heart of city.

A large explosion rocked Somali capital Mogadishu in the early hours on Thursday, triggering a plume of smoke from the blast site amid sounds of gunfire, witnesses have said.

Mohamed Hussein, a nurse at the nearby Osman Hospital, told Reuters that they “were shaken by the blast pressure, then deafened by the gunfire that followed.”

Hussein said he had been pulled from the rubble of a collapsed ceiling. “Our hospital walls collapsed. Opposite us is a school that also collapsed. I do not know how many died,” he said.

The blast near the K4 junction in the heart of the city collapsed the walls of nearby schools and left cars mangled. Fifteen wounded people have been rushed to a hospital, the Amin ambulance service told The Associated Press.

There was no immediate confirmation of a death toll.

Security officials have not released information on what triggered the explosion and the casualties.

The al-Qaeda-linked armed group, al-Shabab, said in a statement carried by its Andalus radio that it targeted Western officials being escorted by the African Union peacekeeping convoy (AMISOM).

Al-Shabaab has been fighting Somalia’s central government for years to establish its own rule based on its strict interpretation of sharia law.



Al Jazeera and news agencies

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