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MPs among 32 killed at Somali hotel

A suicide bomber and gunmen have killed more than 30 people, including six MPs, in an attack on a hotel near Somalia's presidential palace.

Witnesses described a horrific scene of dead bodies throughout the Muna Hotel and guests scrambling to safety through windows.

The multi-pronged assault came less than 24 hours after the country's most dangerous militant group - al-Shabab, a group allied with al Qaida - threatened a "massive" war against what it labelled as invaders, a reference to the 6,000 African Union troops in Mogadishu.

The attack raised the two-day toll to at least 70 people, high even by Mogadishu's violent standards. Fighting that rocked Mogadishu on Monday killed 40 people, health officials said.

Somalia's deputy prime minister said 19 civilians, six MPs, five security forces and two hotel workers were killed in the attack - a total of 32. Two attackers also were killed, said Abdirahman Haji Aden Ibi.

An 11-year-old shoe shine boy and a woman selling tea in front of the hotel were among the dead.

A survivor described a frenzied, one-hour battle inside the four-floor, hotel.

Saynab Qayad, an MP staying at the hotel, said she was woken by the sound of bullets. Three MPs staying on the fourth floor had drawn their guns while other guests scrambled to safety by escaping out the windows, she said.

"Smoke filled my room after bullets smashed my window. I hid myself in a corner of the room. Then a guest next door came to my door, screaming 'Come out! Come out!' And when I came out bullets continued to fly around."

A spokesman for the al-Shabab militia, said that members of the group's special forces had carried out the attack against those "aiding the infidels".

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