The death toll from two bomb attacks that tore through busy junctions in the heart of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu has risen to 85, making it one of the deadliest attacks in the country since Islamist militants launched an insurgency in 2007.
Police said a truck bomb exploded on Saturday outside a hotel at the K5 intersection that is lined with government offices, restaurants and kiosks, flattening buildings and setting vehicles on fire. Two hours later, a blast struck the Medina district.
The first explosion - in the city's K5 Junction area which is lined with government offices, hotels, and restaurants - destroyed several buildings and set dozens of vehicles on fire.
"We know that at least 20 civilians are dead while dozens of others are wounded," Abdullahi Nur, a police officer who was in the area, initially said.
"The death toll will surely rise. We are still busy transporting casualties," he said, adding that there were bodies under the rubble.
About two hours later, a second blast took place in the city's Madina district.
"It was a car bomb. Two civilians were killed," Siyad Farah, a police major, told Reuters, adding that a suspect had been caught on suspicion of planting explosives.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, although the Islamist al Shabaab group has carried out regular attacks
The al Qaeda-allied group is waging an insurgency to topple the weak UN-backed government and its African Union allies and impose its own strict interpretation of Islam.
They frequently launch gun, grenade and bomb attacks in Mogadishu and other regions controlled by the federal government, though in recent years the militants have lost most territory under their control to African Union peacekeepers and government troops.