FILE: Two ambulances report to an incident in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu.
FILE: Two ambulances report to an incident in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu.

A suicide bomber rammed into a hotel in the centre of the Somali capital Mogadishu on Wednesday killing at least nine people.

The attack was claimed by militant group al Shabab.

Gunfire followed the attack on the Posh Hotel, the only venue with a discotheque in the capital.

Witnesses said the whole district was cordoned off by police, and that sporadic gunfire could still be heard.

"The suicide car bomb targeted its entrance. There is gunfire inside the hotel, but I am not sure if fighters are inside," Moahmed Hussein, a police officer, said.

Gunmen stormed a restaurant adjacent to the hotel, another police officer said, but was unable to provide details.

TRT World spoke with journalist Abdulaziz Billow Ali for more on the attack.

Al Shabab, which has carried out a campaign of suicide bombings in its bid to topple the Somali government and impose its distorted interpretation of Islam, claimed responsibility.

"A mujahid (fighter) with his suicide car bomb martyred himself after he rammed into Posh Hotel, which is a nightclub. The operation goes on," Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group's military spokesman said.

Since losing large swathes of territory to African Union peacekeepers supporting the government, the group has frequently launched raids and deadly attacks in Mogadishu and other regions controlled by the federal government.

Somalia has been at war since 1991, when clan-based warlords overthrew dictator Siad Barre and then turned on each other.

Source: Reuters