A car bomb has exploded outside the Presidential palace in the Somali capital of Mogadishu.
Islamist militant group al Shabaab have claimed responsibility for the attack.
At least 10 people including civilians and soldiers are said to have been killed in the attack which also partially damaged two nearby hotels.
Mohamed Abdi Hayir, the information minister told state radio that security officials were meeting in the SYL hotel during the time of the blast.
He said that one minister and some state radio journalists were injured in the attack.
According to a Reuters witnesses, a huge cloud of smoke could be seen above the presidential palace amid heavy gunfire being heard. The remnants of the car and splattered blood could also be seen outside.
Police officer Major Mohamed Ali told Reuters by phone that ”a suicide car bomb exploded outside the presidential palace. So far, two hotels opposite the palace are partially destroyed”
The Islamist group’s radio, Radio Andaluz claimed responsibility for the attack.
Their military operations spokesman, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, said the attack killed 15 soldiers and “injured many others including a lawmaker”.
Another police officer, Colonel Abdikadir Hussein told Reuters that so far they only know about five government soldiers dying in the blast but the death toll could rise.
He confirmed the explosion was outside the SYL hotel which is also just at the checkpoint outside the palace. He believe the target was SYL which is frequented by officials.
Al Shabaab has been trying to overthrow the western backed government in Mogadishu as well as push out the African Union mandated AMISOM peace keeping force backing it.
This incident comes barely three days after a car bomb and gun attack at a popular beach restaurant in the city which killed 10 people.
In a separate incident, military bases housing government and African Union troops south west of the capital, Mogadishu, were attacked by the terrorist group late on Monday.