At least nine people were killed as a suicide bomber drove an explosive-laden car into a hotel in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. Police also said there was a hostage situation at a restaurant adjacent to the hotel.
“So far, we can confirm that nine people – mostly women who were hotel staff – have died,” police officer Mohamed Hussein told Reuters.
He said that a terrorist drove his car into the entrance of the Posh Hotel in the center of the city.
Police, cited by AP, said that following the blast, the gunmen got into the Pizza House, taking dozens of visitors hostage.
The police later said that at least 20 people were being held by the terrorists.
“The fighters are still inside the Pizza House (restaurant) and they are holding over 20 people. We do not know how many of those are dead or alive,” said Major Ibrahim Hussein, as cited by Reuters.
Witnesses said that they heard gunfire on the scene, with the city center area remaining cordoned off by the police.
The al-Qaeda-aligned terror group Al Shabaab has already taken responsibility for the attack.
Suicide bombing and gun attacks in Mogadishu have become Al Shabaab signature tactics after it was forced to retreat into remote rural areas by African Union peacekeepers.