At least 10 people have been killed in a gun and bomb attack on a hotel in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
A vehicle packed with explosives was rammed into the back of the Elite Hotel in the Lido beach area, after which gunmen stormed the building and took hostages, reports said.
Security forces are said to be trying to regain control of the hotel.
Police reports hostage taking situation inside Elite Hotel #Mogadishu by the attackers. Gunshots heard from 1st & 3rd floors. Paramilitary officers are trying to enter the four-storey hotel building as active shooters still inside. #Somalia pic.twitter.com/O6ndELapB6
— Abdalle Ahmed Mumin (@Cabdalleaxmed) August 16, 2020
The Islamist militant group al-Shabab has said its fighters were behind the attack.
“There is still sporadic gunfire,” government security official Ahmed Omar told AFP news agency.
“The death toll can increase because the blast was massive and there is a hostage situation involved.”
The recently built hotel is owned by an MP and is popular with Somali politicians. The privately-owned Somali news website Dhacdoone described it as one of the most heavily guarded facilities in Mogadishu.
Al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, has been waging a brutal insurgency in Somalia for more than a decade.
It has been pushed out of Mogadishu by government and African Union troops, but the group still carries out bombings and assassinations in the city.