At least eight people have been killed in an attack on a hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital.
Witnesses told VOA’s Somali Service that they heard two or three blasts near the Hayat Hotel at the KM4 junction Friday evening.
A police officer told Reuters news service that one car bomb hit near the hotel, and another hit the hotel’s gate.
Gunfire could still be heard early Saturday as police tried to flush the attackers out of the hotel, The Associated Press reported.
Several people were wounded in the incident.
Islamist militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the blasts. A statement on the group’s website said, “Our fighters seized the hotel and are fighting now inside. We are targeting government officials who are in the hotel.”
The group, which has been waging an insurgency in Somalia for about 15 years, often targets cafes and hotels like the Hayat in Mogadishu that are patronized by political and security officials.
Some information in this report came from Reuters, Agence France-Presse and The Associated Press.