Terrorists have taken control of a hotel in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, following two car bomb blasts and gunfire, Somali's police and intelligence officers said on Friday.

Iran PressAfrica: Terrorists attacked a hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu in a hail of gunfire and explosions on Friday, with casualties reported, security sources and witnesses said.

The assault on the Hayat Hotel triggered a fierce gunfight between security forces and gunmen from the terrorist group who are still holed up inside the building, security official Abdukadir Hassan to media.

"A huge blast went off a few minutes before the gunmen forced their way into the hotel," Hassan said.

The Hayat Hotel is a popular venue with lawmakers and other government officials.

Friday’s attack is the first major attack since President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took office in May.

Al-Shabaab, a terrorist group linked with al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack and said its “suicide infantry” stormed the hotel located near the headquarters of Somalia’s Criminal Investigation Department, according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors terrorist group statements.

Somalia entered into a civil war in 1992 and in recent years has seen attacks by the Al-Shabaab terrorist group. 219

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