Mogadishu: A car bomber rammed the gate of a hotel in the centre of the Somali capital on Friday where some ministers and lawmakers had gathered, and a suicide attacker then blew himself up inside the compound, police officers said.
Ambulances wailed as they raced to Central Hotel and a huge plume of smoke rose above the coastal city. It was not clear if anyone was killed but police said at least one lawmaker was among those injured.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the style of the attack was typical of the Islamist militant group al Shabaab, which frequently targets officials in Mogadishu in its bid to bring down the Western-backed government.
"First the car bomb exploded at the gate of the hotel, then a suicide bomber blew himself up in the hotel compound," police Major Nur Mohamed told Reuters.
"There were ministers and legislators inside the hotel. I have seen many people with injuries, including a lawmaker," he said from the scene of the blast which struck around lunchtime on Friday, the weekend in Somalia when hotels tend to be busy.
Police reported gunshots coming from inside the hotel shortly after the attack, but said they soon stopped.