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Huge blast at popular hotel in Somalia

A popular hotel in the Somali capital has come under attack. An explosion was heard, followed by gunfire at the building, where government officials were staying.

A huge blast and gunfire were heard at a popular hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Friday, police said.

According to the news agency AFP, a car bomb was detonated, killing at least one person.

Islamist fighters then began firing on the building. Reuters news agency further reported that they had successfully entered the premises.

"Al-Shabab fighters are on the top of the building and inside the hotel," a police officer, told Reuters. "Some government officials are inside the hotel."

No group has officially claimed responsibility for the bombing yet.

Central Mogadishu has been a frequent target of Somalia's al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militants.

Al-Shabab has regularly attacked hotels in the country before as part of their fight against the country's internationally-backed government and African Union forces supporting it.

ra/kms (Reuters, AFP)