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Attacks Leave Dozens Dead in Libya, Somalia


"They don't care about life."

TRIPOLI, Libya (TheBlaze/AP) -- A car bomb attack near a gas station in Libya and hotel in Somalia Friday killed dozens of people and left others injured in the two African countries.

Suspected Al-Shebab members are arrested by Somali security forces in Mogadishu on February 18, 2015, during an operation against Al-Shebab insurgents. Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab rebels are fighting to overthrow the country's internationally-backed government. Al-Shebab took responsibility for a car bomb attack on a Somalian hotel Friday. (MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AFP/Getty Images)

An army spokesman said at least 30 were killed in Qubba, Libya, a town under control of the country's internationally recognized government. However, there were conflicting reports about the blast in the city located about 19 miles from Darna, a stronghold of Libya's branch of the Islamic State group, which has been gaining a foothold in this North African nation, far from the battlefield of Iraq and Syria.

According to army spokesman Mohammed Hegazi, the car bomb exploded next to a gas station in the town as motorists lined up to fill their tanks. The explosion also wounded scores of people, Hegazi told The Associated Press. He added that the gas station is close to the town's security headquarters.

But a security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said that the gas station blast was only one in a string of attacks in Qubba on Friday. He said one other attack targeted the home of Parliament Speaker Ageila Saleh, who represents the elected government, based in eastern Libya.

A third attack targeted the security headquarters building itself, said the official, who also gave a different casualty figure, putting the total death toll at around 25.

Such conflicting tolls are common in the aftermath of large attacks. Hospital officials and others in Qubba could not immediately be reached for comment.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which Hegazi said bore the hallmarks of Islamic militants who have battled the army for months in and around the eastern city of Benghazi.

In Somalia, at least two people were killed with the country's deputy prime minister among some officials who were wounded in a suicide bomb attack on a hotel near the presidential palace in the capital, a Somali police official said.

One person rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into the gate of the hotel, and another suicide bomber then entered the hotel and blew himself up, Capt. Mohammed Hussein told The Associated Press.

Al-Shabab, an Islamic insurgent group, claimed the responsibility for this attack, according to the group's radio station, Andulus.

A man is questioned and searched during random vehicle check as part of an operation by Somali security forces against suspected members of the militant group al-Shabab in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015. Earlier this month al-Shabab claimed responsibility for a drive-by shooting of a Somali lawmaker, the latest in a string of violence targeting the country's legislators for assassination. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

Two bloodied bodies were lying outside the hotel in central Mogadishu, as soldiers cordoned off the area and fired bullets into the air to disperse approaching crowds.

Deputy Prime Minister Mohamed Omar Arte was rushed to a hospital, and was among several other high-ranking government officials at the hotel at the time of the attack, Hussein said.

"They don't care about life, humans and Muslims," said an elderly woman sobbing beside the dead body of a man outside the hotel.

This is the second attack on a hotel in Mogadishu in less than a month. On Jan. 22, three Somali nationals were killed when a suicide car bomber blew himself up at the gate of a hotel housing the advance party of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who visited the country days later. 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.

Despite major setbacks in 2014, al-Shabab continues to wage a deadly insurgency against Somalia's government and remains a threat in Somalia and the East African region. The group has carried out many attacks in Somalia and in neighboring countries, including Kenya, whose armies are part of the African Union troops bolstering Somalia's weak U.N.- backed government.

Al-Shabab controlled much of Mogadishu during the years 2007 to 2011, but was pushed out of Somalia's capital and other major cities by African Union forces.

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