Suspected Islamist fighters stormed a popular hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Friday, trapping government officials inside, police and witnesses said.
A huge blast was heard near the gate of the hotel and gunmen were seen inside and on the roof of the building, Major Ismail Olow, a Mogadishu police officer at the scene, told Reuters.
“The hotel is now fully under the control of the militants,” he said. “Al Shabaab fighters are on the top of the building and inside the hotel. It is not easy for us to go in.”
A Reuters witness saw two destroyed cars at the gate and at least one dead body.
The Somali Islamist militant group Al Shabaab did not make any immediate comment but has regularly attacked hotels before.
(Reporting by Abdi Sheikh Feisal Omar; writing by Edith Honan; Editing by Kevin Liffey)