A suicide bombing outside a hotel in western Somalia killed at least 20 people today including the national security minister. The Somali president accused al-Qaeda of being behind the attack. A witness said a small car headed toward the gate of the Medina Hotel in Belet Weyne, then drove into vehicles leaving the hotel and exploded.
The president added that the attack had also killed a senior Somali diplomat. "It was an act of terrorism and it is part of the terrorist attack on our people," Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed told journalists. The bombing came after a fierce overnight battle between the government and Islamic insurgents in Mogadishu that left 17 people dead.