MOGADISHU, Feb 21 (Reuters) - The death toll in Friday’s bombing of a hotel in the Somali capital has risen to 25, including two lawmakers and workers from the prime minister’s office, the government said on Saturday.
Police previously said at least 10 people had been killed in the attack on Central Hotel, near the presidential palace in the centre of Mogadishu.
Islamist al Shabaab rebels set off a car bomb inside the Central Hotel compound which also houses a mosque popular with government officials. After the car blast, a suicide bomber ran into the mosque during Friday prayers and blew himself up.
“The confirmed death toll is 25 civilians and officials, including two lawmakers and deputy Mogadishu mayor,” the government said. “Among the dead are also officials and workers from the prime minister’s office.”
Some 40 people were wounded in the two blasts, including two ministers who were lightly injured.
The cabinet met in the wake of the attack to discuss security and set up a committee to investigate the attack, the government said in a statement.
Abdirisak Omar Mohamed, Somalia’s Internal Security Minister, told Reuters soon after the blasts it was unclear how a car laden with explosives managed to breach hotel security to park inside the compound. “(National intelligence) are going to interrogate the management of the hotel,” he said on Friday.
State run Radio Mogadishu on Saturday said 12 hotel staff had been arrested in connection with the attack.
Al Shabaab once dominated much of Somalia but it has been slowly pushed out of strongholds across the country. However, its guerrilla-style gun assaults and suicide bombings continue to exert pressure on the government to improve security. (Reporting by Abdi Sheikh; Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Mark Potter)