Last month, at least 45 people were killed when two auto bombs exploded near the presidential palace and a hotel in Mogadishu, the city's main ambulance service said.
Recently, U.S. strikes have increasingly targeted low-level al-Shabab operatives who are involved in smuggling weapons, bombers and vehicle-borne explosive devices into the main cities, such as Mogadishu.
At least 14 people have been killed in a auto bomb blast outside a popular hotel in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, according to a government official.More news: Pakistan, Sri Lanka agree to further diversify, enhance ties
Most of the casualties were passers-by and traders, Hussein said.
A spokesman for the Somali interior ministry confirmed the death toll, adding that 10 others were wounded in the blast. "I saw people being rushed to hospital and some of them were already dead", said witness Abdulahi Moalim. While the Shabaab was pushed out of the capital in 2011 by an African Union force it still controls large parts of the countryside and launches regular attacks on government, military and civilian targets. Mogadishu is regularly hit by bomb attacks carried out by the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab which is fighting to overthrow Somalia's internationally-backed government.
In February twin auto bombings left 38 people dead in Mogadishu. A truck bombing in October killed 512 people in the country's deadliest-ever attack.More news: Stringent security in place for PSL final in Karachi
People gather at the site of a vehicle bomb explosion in downtown Mogadishu, Somalia.
Abdulle also told VOA Somali that Somali security forces captured two al-Shabab militants in the nearby town of Awdhegle following an operation in the early hours of Tuesday.More news: Iowa family found dead in Mexico inhaled toxic gas, autopsies reveal
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