Two blasts kill at least 20 people near Mogadishu airport

Al Shabab militant group claimed responsibility for the attack that hit a security checkpoint and a popular hotel in the airport vicinity.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A Somali policeman walks through the rubble after a suicide attack at a checkpoint outside the main base of an African Union peacekeeping force in the Somali capital Mogadishu, January 2, 2017.

Updated Jan 3, 2017

Suicide bombers attacked a security checkpoint near Mogadishu’s international airport, several hundred metres from the main base of an African Union peacekeeping mission, killing at least 20 people and injuring dozens, police and witnesses said.

Two minivans filled with explosives went off minutes apart at a security checkpoint and a popular hotel in the airport vicinity, according to Capt Abdi Warsame, a Somali police officer.

One bomber drove a car into a checkpoint outside the headquarters of the African Union peacekeeping force AMISOM, killing four Somali officers stationed there, police officer Mohamed Ahmed said.

Another vehicle then drove through towards the base's main gates but came under fire from peacekeepers.

"It exploded about 200 metres from the gate. Civilian buildings were damaged," AMISOM said on its Twitter feed.

The Al Shabab militant group, which wants to topple the western-backed government, claimed responsibility for the attacks.

TRT World's Omar Nor has more details.

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies