6 killed in blasts in Somali area of Kenya capital

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – Three blasts in central Nairobi killed at least six people and wounded two dozen Monday evening in a coordinated terrorist strike, officials said.

The explosions occurred in a neighborhood known for its large Somali population. Sometimes called Kenya’s “Little Mogadishu,” Eastleigh has seen several grenade attacks over the last year.

Six people died and 25 were wounded in the blasts, said Benson Kibue, Nairobi’s police chief. Two restaurants and the exterior of a mother-child health clinic were hit, he said.

An Associated Press reporter at the scene said two of the blasts were about 200 yards apart. One blast collapsed the first floor walls of a restaurant and appeared to be caused by a device larger than a grenade. Kibue said police suspect it was an improvised explosive device.

Peter Gakuye was bloodied and dusty from the blast’s aftermath. He said he was at the front counter of a hotel called Sheraton – not related to the global chain – at around 7:30 p.m. when a blast went off outside. Dazed, he didn’t share any other information.

Kibue said because of the large amount of debris at the hotel site the death toll could rise if more bodies are found.

Kenya has suffered from a long string of grenade attacks presumed to be thrown by Somali militant sympathizers. Officials also recently discovered a large, undetonated car bomb in the coastal city of Mombasa.

The Somali militant group al-Shabab has long threatened attacks in Kenya unless the country withdraws its troops from southern Somalia. Al-Shabab claimed the attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall in September. That attack killed at least 67 people.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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