Police said a truck bomb exploded outside the Safari Hotel at the K5 intersection, which is lined with government offices, restaurants and kiosks, flattening buildings and setting vehicles on fire. A separate blast struck the Medina district two hours later.
Abshir Abdi Ahmed said the toll comes from doctors at hospitals he has visited in Mogadishu. Many of the bodies in hospital mortuaries have not yet been identified, he said.
It is the single deadliest attack ever in the Horn of Africa nation.
Dr Afzal Ashraf, assistant professor of international relations at the University of Nottingham, told The Independent the attack was likely a response to recent losses suffered by Islamist groups.
He said groups affiliated with al-Qaeda and Isis were “increasingly on the back foot, particularly in Iraq and Syria, and feel they need to lash out.”
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