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6 killed, dozens injured in blasts in Somali neighborhood of Kenyan capital, officials say

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NAIROBI, Kenya — 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.

PHOTO: An injured Kenyan is wheeled into Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, Monday March 31, 2014, after an explosion in downtown Nairobi killed at least five people. The National Disaster Operation Center said on Twitter that explosions had occurred Monday evening in a neighborhood known for its large Somali population, and the agency said five people were killed and several injured without saying what caused the blasts. (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)
An injured Kenyan is wheeled into Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, Monday March 31, 2014, after an explosion in downtown Nairobi killed at least five people. The National Disaster Operation Center said on Twitter that explosions had occurred Monday evening in a neighborhood known for its large Somali population, and the agency said five people were killed and several injured without saying what caused the blasts. (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)

An Associated Press reporter at the scene said two of the blasts were about 200 meters (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.

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