<font color="red">Breaking News:</font> Explosions at Hotel in Somali Capital, Heavy Gunfire
Two strong explosions were heard on Friday at a hotel near Somalia's presidential palace, and smoke could be seen rising from the building frequented by government officials.
Capt. Mohamed Hussein, a senior Somali police officer said a car bomb was detonated at the gate of the central hotel in Mogadishu, followed by heavy gunfire. More details were not immediately available about the attack, which bears the hallmarks of al-Shabab, an Islamic extremist group fighting the Somali government and the African Union forces in the country. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
This is the second attack on a hotel in Mogadishu in less than a month. On Jan. 22, three Somali nationals were killed when a suicide car bomber blew himself up at the gate of a hotel housing the advance party of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who visited the country days later. A Somali intelligence official said that the Turkish delegation of around 70 members was staying at the hotel at the time of the attack but were unharmed.
Despite major setbacks in 2014, al-Shabab continues to wage a deadly insurgency against Somalia's government and remains a threat in Somalia and the East African region. The group has carried out many attacks in Somalia and in neighboring countries, including Kenya, whose armies are part of the African Union troops bolstering Somalia's weak U.N.- backed government.
Al-Shabab controlled much of Mogadishu during the years 2007 to 2011, but was pushed out of Somalia's capital and other major cities by African Union forces