The Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Shabab terrorist group carried out a double suicide attack at a hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu killing and wounding dozens of people, including government officials on Friday.
Somali police sources told the media that at least 20 people were killed in the afternoon attack at Central Hotel.
Attacks on hotels where politicians usually meet are signature Al-Shabab strategies.
The Central Hotel attack involved a suicide car bomb attack at the entrance gate to the hotel, followed by a fighter blowing himself up.
Al-Shabab fighters then stormed the hotel compound and opened fire.
Government officials said Parliament Member Omar Ali Nor and the capital’s deputy mayor were killed in the attack.
A number of senior officials, including Prime Minister Mohamed Omar Arte, were also wounded in the attack and rushed to nearby hospitals.
Last week, the Somali Parliament approved a new cabinet, which includes women ministers.
Al-Shabab is slowly losing territory in Somalia after occupying large swathes of the country. However, the loss of territory has not downgraded its capability to launch deadly attacks in the capital.
Friday’s attack comes exactly a year after a similar Al-Shabab assault on the presidential palace in Mogadishu; that attack killed two government officials but President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud escaped unharmed.
At least nine Al-Shabab fighters were killed in that attack.
The UN, which supports the Somali government and the presence of African Union peacekeepers in the country, says that the Al-Shabab group is trying to “destabilize the country at a time when many efforts are being mobilized to restore peace and development”.