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At least 10 people were killed Friday in blasts that occurred near a popular hotel and the police headquarters in the Somali capital Mogadishu, police said.

Twin car bombs exploded in the capital within moments of each other, followed by gunfire and a third blast a while later, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the sky, according to an AFP reporter.

The attack took place in the vicinity of the Sahafi hotel and Criminal Investigation Division (CID) police headquarters.

An initial “two blasts struck the perimeter of the Sahafi hotel along the main road… more than 10 people died, most of them civilians and some security guards,” said police official Ibrahim Mohamed.

“I saw nine dead bodies along the road and they were civilians, some of them riding on rickshaws when the blasts occurred. Many more were wounded,” witness Abdirahman Suleyman told AFP.

The exact target was not initially clear.

Mogadishu faces frequent bombings at the hands of Al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaeda affiliate which has been fighting to overthrow the internationally backed Somali government for over a decade.

The Shabaab were forced out of the capital by African Union troops in 2011.

But they still control parts of the countryside and attack the government, military, and civilian targets, seemingly at will, in Mogadishu and regional towns.

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