At least 15 people, including two lawmakers, were killed and 20 others were wounded after a suicide car bomb exploded near the Ambassador Hotel in the centre of Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Wednesday.
Police Major Ibrahim Hassan said, "Lawmakers Mohamud Mohamed and Abdullahi Jamac died in the hotel. They lived in it. Many other people including lawmakers were rescued. The operation is about to end now. So far the death toll we have is 15 dead and 20 others wounded."
Police said the suicide attack was followed by a gunfire and there were still two suspects on the top floor of the building who might be wearing suicide vests and holding hostages.
— Abdi Aynte (@Aynte) 1 June 2016
Initial reports said special forces had taken control of the hotel, but witnesses say they can still hear gunshots.
Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabab immediately claimed responsibility for the attack on the hotel, which is frequently used by lawmakers.
According to their statement, 20 people were killed in addition to the two lawmakers.
Al Shabab's military operations spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab said, "We targeted the members of the apostate government. We killed many of them inside and we shall give details later. Our mujahideen are on the top floor of the hotel building."
— Mohamed Midnimo (@mmidnimo) 1 June 2016
The group frequently launches attacks targeting government buildings, hotels and security forces in Mogadishu.
It has been driven out of many regions it once controlled by African Union peacekeeping forces, including Mogadishu.
The group has also claimed responsibility for deadly attacks in Kenya and Uganda, which contribute troops to AU peacekeeping forces in Somalia.