It is the single deadliest attack ever in the Horn of Africa nation. The country’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo declared three days of national mourning and ordered flags flown at half-mast.
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.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, although the Islamist al Shabaab group has carried out regular attacks.
The al Qaeda-allied group is waging an insurgency to topple the weak U.N.-backed government and its African Union allies and impose its own strict interpretation of Islam.
They frequently launch gun, grenade and bomb attacks in Mogadishu and other regions controlled by the federal government, though in recent years the militants have lost most territory under their control to African Union peacekeepers and government troops.