Mogadishu, Oct 29 At least 14 people were killed in coordinated vehicle bombings followed by an attack on a hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu, claimed by Shabaab Islamists.
"We can confirm that the president was not at the hotel at the time of the attack", he said.
Police Officer Ali Mohamed told Anadolu Agency over the phone that a vehicle bomb had targeted the Nasa-hablood hotel near the presidential palace; soon after another auto bomb exploded near the scene.
Residents said there was a huge smoke billowing from the scene after a huge explosion followed with gunfire was heard outside the hotel.
"The Mujahedeen fighters are inside Nasa Hablod 2 hotel where".
The group is believed to be behind a Mogadishu truck bomb attack two weeks ago that killed more than 350 people.
According to Somali national news agency (SONNA), former MP Abdinasir Garane and former police commissioner of Daynile district Mohamed Yusuf were among the dead.
The Al Qaeda-affiliated militant group is fighting to topple Somalia's internationally-backed government and has carried out scores of such attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere in the country. He suffered small injuries on his shoulder and head from flying glass.
The first explosion was a suicide auto bomb which detonated outside a Mogadishu hotel, where gunfire broke out inside the building.
Security officials said Saturday's bomber had pretended his truck had broken down outside the gate.
Al-Shabab often targets high-profile areas of Mogadishu.
He also faces the challenge of pulling together regional powers inside his long-fractured country, where the federal government is only now trying to assert itself beyond Mogadishu and other major cities. Security forces cordoned off the area.
'It is a busy hotel frequented by lawmakers, (military) forces and civilians'.
The US military also has stepped up military efforts against al Shabab this year in Somalia, carrying out almost 20 drone strikes, as the global war on extremism moves deeper into the African continent.