Double auto bombing strikes Mogadishu

A truck bomb detonated outside a hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, minutes before gunmen on foot stormed the building on Saturday afternoon, killing at least 19 people and wounding at least 15 others, state media reported.

Fighting continued to rage inside the hotel and police said the death toll was likely to rise.

"No one expected them to carry out attacks just two weeks to the day they launched Somalia's deadliest attack, in which more than 358 people were killed", Adow added.

Speaking to The Associated Press by telephone from the scene, Mohamed Hussein, an army captain, said more than 20 people, including government officials, were thought to be trapped as security forces battled extremists holed up on the top floor of the hotel.

"The Mujahedeen fighters are inside Nasa Hablod 2 hotel where... apostate officials are staying", said a brief statement posted on a pro-Shabaab website, quoting Andalus.

He said he saw at least three armed men in military uniforms running toward the hotel after the suicide bombing at its gate. He suffered small injuries on his shoulder and head from flying glass.

The attack happened as the country's leaders converged in Mogadishu for a high level security meeting following the October 14 truck bombing that killed more than 350 people.

"We targeted ministers and security officials who were inside the hotel".

Witnesses said gunmen stormed Nasa-Hablod hotel after detonating a auto filled with explosives at the entrance.

Somali-based insurgent group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack and said its fighters remain inside the hotel.

Al-Shabab often targets high-profile areas of Mogadishu.

'It is a busy hotel frequented by lawmakers, (military) forces and civilians'.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has been appealing to neighbouring countries in a bid to drum up support in the fight against the Islamic extremist terror cult.

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