The United States has condemned a terror strike in Somalia's capital Mogadishu. Several people were killed in an explosion at the Jazeera Palace Hotel.
A suicide bomber rammed a truck with explosives into the wall of the Jazeera Palace hotel, killing at least nine people including a Chinese diplomat, Somalia's foreign ministry said.
The White House condemned the strike, which came around the time US President Barack Obama was wrapping up his trip in neighboring Kenya.
"Despite the very real progress Somalia has achieved in recent years, this attack is yet another reminder of the unconscionable atrocities that terrorist groups continue to perpetrate against the people of Somalia," a statement by the White House read, adding that the US was committed to work with the country to bring a stop to such acts of terrorism.
The jihadist al-Shabab militia took responsibility for the strike on the hotel, which houses the diplomatic missions of China, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. It is popular among foreign visitors and eminent Somali officials.
The hotel is also close to the international airport, which is in a fortified area and is home to the United Nations, Western diplomatic missions and the African Union forces in Somalia (AMISOM).
Al-Shabab militants are fighting to overthrow Somalia's western-backed government and have been pushed almost completely out of the capital by the African Union's forces.
Earlier this weekend, the fighters killed Member of Parliament Abdulahi Hussein Mohamud, spraying his vehicle with bullets as he travelled in the capital's south. The militants said they would "continue targeting" lawmakers.
Terrorists have often targeted Jazeera Palace. In 2012, bombers stormed the hotel when President Hasan Sheikh Mahmoud was inside.
"The terrorists are shaken by the joint military offensive engaged by the Somali and AMISOM troops, and they are desperately targeting innocent civilians," Mahmoud said after the latest attack.
mg/lw (AP, AFP, dpa)