Somalia police said at least 11 people were killed after a car bomb targeted a business centre in Maka al Mukaram street, which has hotels, shops and restaurants in the capital Mogadishu.
A suicide car bombing targeting a Mogadishu hotel on Thursday killed at least 11 people and destroyed buildings in the Somali capital's busiest street, police said.
It was one of the heaviest blasts to have hit Mogadishu in recent times.
It took place in a business centre in Maka Al Mukaram street which has hotels, shops and restaurants, Police Major Mohamed Hussein told Reuters. Cars in the street were set ablaze.
"Over ten people died. A hotel is burning and other buildings were ruined by the blast. Twenty injured people were carried out. We believe more dead bodies are in the ruined buildings," Police Major Abdullahi Ali said.
Al Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack.
Ali said he did not believe the militants were inside the hotel. "But anything can happen because it is dark in some of the buildings because the blast cut the electric wires," he said.
When contacted later he disputed Al Shabab's claim of more casualties but said the number of those killed could rise.
"Death toll is sure to rise because we believe there are more casualties inside the hotel building and the Al Shabab militants are anticipated to be inside," he told Reuters.
Residents close to the blast scene said they can hear sporadic exchanges of gunfire.
Stinking gases from the blast reached several kilometres away from the scene.
Somalia has been convulsed by lawlessness and violence since 1991.
Al Shabab is fighting to dislodge a Western-backed government protected by African Union-mandated peacekeepers.