Ahmed Qalinle, a police officer, said yesterday night that they had established the number of casualties but were expecting a possible increase as the battle between Somalia's Special Forces and Al-Shabaab militants was underway.

A former BBC journalist and now director of the London based Somali Cable TV Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimu was among the injured in the attacks.

Police have indicated they expected casualty figures to rise since some of those who tried to escape were caught in the second explosion. Witnesses said that they heard the explosions near the hotel,  but could not establish any developments since it was already dark.

The Al-Qaeda linked group Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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