Suicide car bomber targets Mogadishu hotel ahead of visit by Turkish PM



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MOGADISHU, Somalia — A suicide car bomber blew himself up at the gate of a hotel which was being used by a delegation of Turkish officials Thursday in Somalia's capital, killing three Somalis and shattering windows.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, speaking in Davos, Switzerland, said three Somalis were killed in the attack. The blast came one day before Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives in Mogadishu. Erdogan denounced the attack during a speech he delivered at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia.

"There was again a terrorist act in Somalia today. In whose name are they doing this? If it's in the name of Islam, I am a Muslim and there is no such thing in Islam. Firstly, a Muslim cannot commit suicide," he said. "In our religion there is no such thing as going and killing people."

A Somali intelligence official said that the Turkish delegation of around 70 members was staying at the hotel at the time of the attack, but were unharmed. He insisted on not being named because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Davutoglu said it was not clear if the Turkish delegation was the target of the attack and that Erdogan would go ahead with the visit.

Somali police Capt. Mohamed Hussein said the bomber drove his explosives-laden car into the gate of the SYL hotel.

The attack bears the hallmarks of attacks by al-Shabab, an Islamic extremist group fighting the Somali government and the African Union forces in the country. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

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