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Ijumaa, Septemba 29, 2023 Local time: 07:33

More Bodies Found in Rubble of Bombed Mogadishu Hotel

Security forces secure the scene next to destroyed vehicles following a suicide car bomb attack in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia, July 26, 2015.

The death toll is up to 18 following Sunday's bombing of the Jazeera Palace Hotel in Mogadishu by militant group al-Shabab.

Five more deaths were reported Monday, including that of a Chinese embassy staff member who was injured in the powerful truck bomb blast.

Ambulance services said searchers also pulled four bodies from the rubble of the partially destroyed hotel.

The hotel hosts the Chinese and Egyptian embassies in Somalia and is a popular spot for lawmakers and reporters. The National Union of Somali Journalists says two local journalists were among those killed while another was seriously wounded.

U.S. President Barack Obama, who is visiting Ethiopia, said Monday that the attack was a reminder that terrorist groups like al-Shabab offer "nothing but death and destruction" and need to be stopped.

Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud condemned the attack and vowed the hotel will be rebuilt.

He denounced al-Shabab as "gangsters and conmen" and "twisters of our religion."

African Union and Somali government forces have ousted al-Shabab from most of the cities and towns it once controlled, but the group still carries out periodic high-profile attacks.

In April, al-Shabab fighters killed 148 people at Garissa University College in eastern Kenya.