At least 10 people have been killed after gunmen stormed a beachside hotel in Somalia‘s capital.
Security forces are battling Islamic extremist gunmen who have invaded the Elite Hotel in Mogadishu, a police officer said.
Security forces have shot dead two of the attackers in the hotel amid fears of hostage crisis inside the complex, Ismail Mukhtar, a spokesman for Somalia’s information ministry, said.
Captain Mohamed Hussein said the attack started with a powerful car bomb which blew off the security gates to the hotel.
He said gunmen then ran inside and took hostages, mostly young men and women who were dining at the hotel.
Security forces rescued more than 10 people from the siege and were trying to prevent the attackers from moving up to the top floor, he said.
Ambulance sirens could be heard in the area, which has had a power outage since the attack started.
Military vehicles could be seen taking positions around the hotel amid the darkness of night, which officials worry could prolong the siege.
Somalia’s homegrown Islamic extremist rebels, al Shabab, who are allied to al Qaida, have claimed responsibility for the attack via its radio arm, Andalus.