At least two people have been killed and eight injured after Mogadishu was rocked by two bombs in quick succession, according to reports.
Al-Shabab, Africa's deadliest extremist group, claimed responsibility for the attack that killed a baby and two children, a senior Somali police colonel and a former lawmaker, Capt. Mohamed Hussein told the Associated Press.
A taxi driver at the scene told AFP he saw four bodies being carried away, while another witness called Yusuf Moalim said a senior police official appeared to be among the victims, whose auto had been near the hotel entrance when the blast occurred.
The attack on the Nasa-Hablod hotel, near the presidential palace, appeared to have devolved into an ongoing battle between militants and government security forces Saturday night.
"Most people fled the hotel through a back door but some are still trapped inside", said Mohamed Dek, who was escaped the hotel after the initial explosion. He suffered small injuries on his shoulder and head from flying glass.
President of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohammed, escaped death on Saturday, after the al-Shabab militant group attacked Hotel Naasa-Hablood, where he was scheduled to hold a meeting.
The Shabaab has made attacks on hotels - commonly beginning with a suicide auto bombing followed by an invasion by gunmen - a regular strategy in its decade old battle to overthrow successive internationally-backed governments in Mogadishu.
Two suicide bombers detonated auto bombs outside the entrance.
Al-Shabab often targets high-profile areas of Mogadishu.
A staggering 22,000-strong African Union force is expected to withdraw its forced and hand the country's security to the Somali military by the start of 2021. US military officials and others in recent months have expressed concern that Somali forces are not yet ready.
The US has been actively involving in trying to combat the group, launching 20 drone strikes.
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