A Sahal News reporter in Mogadishu says the first explosion occurred just after guests finished praying Friday at the Central Hotel, the National Theater. A second explosion followed and then gunfire.
Thick black smoke could be seen pouring from the the Central Hotel, which is popular with officials, including members of parliament and government ministers.
Deputy Prime Minister Mohamed Omar Arte was among those wounded in the attack, officials say. The death toll is expected to rise dramatically.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud condemned the attack via Twitter, calling the incident an “outrage” and saying his thoughts are with those hurt.
Al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack. The Islamist extremist group has carried out repeated attacks on government and civilian targets in Somalia in recent years as part of what it says is an effort to establish its version of Islamic law.
Idale News Online/English News Service.