9 killed, dozen wounded in terrorist attacks in Mogadishu, Somali

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At least five people were killed and 12 others injured in two separate auto bombings in Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Monday, officials and witnesses said.

Al-Shabab poses a major challenge to Somalia's new President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who has vowed to make security a priority in this Horn of Africa country as the fragile central government seeks to expand its control outside key areas like the capital.

The bomber detonated near the Weheliye hotel on the busy Maka Almukarramah road, Capt. Mohamed Hussein said.

The hotel was left intact, but the explosion damaged a nearby house.

At least five people were killed and 12 others injured in two separate vehicle bombings in Somalia's capital Mogadishu officials and witnesses said.

Jihadist group al-Shabaab is said to have claimed responsibility for both explosions. "The death toll may rise further", Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of the aid-funded Aamin Ambulance services said.

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One blast came after a minibus driver tried to breach a military checkpoint in the capital.

The minibus exploded, wounding two bystanders and killing the driver, police officer Nur Osman said.

But the militants frequently launch deadly gun, grenade and bomb attacks in Mogadishu and other regions controlled by the federal government. Many of these attacks were aimed at military bases.

"There is a trend of increasingly targeting hotels since 2015", Greg Robin, an IED expert at Nairobi-based think-tank Sahan Research, said.

The insurgents were also increasing their use of truck bombs, he said. He referenced an attack that happened in 2015, the six that occured in 2016 and the explosions that went off in 2017.