Somalia deadly attack: Gunmen storm Mogadishu hotel after blast

Gunmen have stormed a hotel in the centre of the Somali capital Mogadishu, with reports of at least 10 dead.

They entered the Ambassador Hotel on Maka al-Mukarama street after setting off a car bomb at the gates outside, witnesses said.

Politicians and government officials were believed to be staying in the hotel.

The al-Shabab militant group was quick to say it was behind the attack, which intelligence officials say is now over.

The BBC’s Somali Service reporter Ibrahim Aden in Mogadishu says the explosion is one of the largest to hit the city and the scale of destruction is enormous.

The head of the city’s Amiin ambulance service has told the BBC the main Medina hospital is overcrowded.

Al-Shabab, which is battling the UN-backed government, was driven from Mogadishu in 2011 but still remains a potent threat and frequently carries out attacks in the city.

The government, with the help of African Union forces, is fighting the al-Qaeda-linked group to regain control of the country.