On Saturday, a suicide auto bomb was rammed into a hotel, Nasahablod Two, about 600 metres from the presidential palace, and then armed militants stormed the building, police said.
At least three people were killed in twin auto bombings in the Somali capital on Saturday that were claimed by Shabaab Islamists, police and medics said.
Security forces cordoned off the area. Two of the five attackers were killed on the first floor, Mr. Hussein said.
Al Jazeera's Mohammed Adow, reporting from Nairobi, Kenya, said at least three heavily armed Al-Shabab gunmen have gained entry to the Nasa-Hablod hotel and that fighting was still going on.
Police say the death toll is now 18 in an attack on a hotel in Somalia's capital, and a gunbattle continues between security forces and the few remaining extremists holed up inside.
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Islamist group al-Shabab, responsible for scores of such attacks in the country's long civil war, said it carried out Saturday's bombings.
Saturday's blasts came two weeks after more than 350 people were killed in a massive truck bombing on a busy Mogadishu street in the country's worst-ever attack.
A huge cloud of smoke rose over the scene and a Reuters witness saw over a dozen wrecked cars and bloodstains in front of the hotel. The dead also included a former lawmaker, Nur said.
The al-Shabab extremist group has quickly claimed responsibility for the suicide auto bomb that detonated outside the Nasa-Hablod hotel, which is frequented by politicians and other members of Mogadishu's elite.
The al-Shabab extremist group has quickly claimed responsibility for a suicide auto bomb that detonated outside a popular hotel in Somalia's capital. At least 358 people were killed and about 400 injured, with numerous victims burnt beyond recognition.
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On Oct. 14, more than 300 people were killed and another 300 injured in a truck bombing in the city.
The second vehicle-borne bomb blast occurred at the ex-parliament house where there were military forces present, another police officer said.
The police personnel who died had been stationed close to hotel's gate.
The attack comes two weeks after a massive truck bomb exploded in central Mogadishu, killing at least 358 people, making it the deadliest attack in the troubled country's history.
The extremist group al-Shabab often targets high-profile areas of Mogadishu.
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