Gunmen have stormed a hotel in the centre of the Somali capital Mogadishu, with reports of at least 10 dead. The attackers entered the Ambassador Hotel on Maka al-Mukarama Street after setting off a car bomb at the gates outside, witnesses told the BBC.
Politicians and government officials were believed to be staying at the hotel.
The al-Shabab militant group was quick to say it was behind the attack, which intelligence officials said is now over.
The BBC reports that the explosion was one of the largest to hit the city and the scale of destruction was huge. There are reports that about 40 people have been wounded.
The head of the city’s Amiin ambulance service told the BBC the main Medina hospital is overcrowded.
“I was the first person to reach scene. The damage was enormous,” Dr. Abdulkadir Andirahman Haji Aden said.
“My brother and his son were among those injured. We are now in Medina hospital and
it is overcrowded with wounded people. I have never seen something like this,” he added.