At least two people have been killed and eight injured after Mogadishu was rocked by two bombs in quick succession, according to reports.
On Saturday, a suicide vehicle bomb was rammed into a hotel, Nasahablod Two, about 600 metres from the presidential palace, and then armed militants stormed the building, police said.
Police officer Major Abdullahi Aden told Reuters the auto bomb said: 'They are fighting inside.
"Security forces have entered a small portion of the hotel building. the exchange of gunfire is hellish", a police officer told Reuters.
"We can confirm that the president was not at the hotel at the time of the attack", he said.
One senior police official and a former MP are among the dead.
Fighting continued to rage inside the hotel and police said the death toll was likely to rise.More news: Poster out! Rajinikanth claims the throne as Chitti
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And the Nasa-Hablod hotel was targeted just a year ago, when al-Shabaab gunmen stormed the building, killing at least 14 people and injuring another 25.
Residents said there was a huge smoke billowing from the scene after a huge explosion followed with gunfire was heard outside the hotel.
"We wish God's mercy upon those who lost their lives in the attack, convey our condolences to the families who lost their loved ones and wish speedy recovery to the wounded".
The US military has increased its strikes against al Shabaab this year with nearly 20 drone missions against the terror group.
He said the hotel belonged to Somalia's internal security minister, Mohamed Abukar Islow.
Al Shabaab, which is affiliated with al Qaeda, has killed hundreds of Somalis as it seeks to impose its strict interpretation of Islamic law.
Saturday's blasts came two weeks after more than 350 people were killed in a massive truck bombing on a busy Mogadishu street in the country's worst-ever attack.