A witness said blood and pieces of flesh were spattered around the site of the blast targeting the Jazeera hotel. "We have carried 13 dead people and 21 others who were injured, some seriously," an ambulance worker Abdikadir Abdirahman told reporters.

China's Foreign Ministry said that a Chinese national who worked doing security at its embassy in the country, which is located in the hotel, was among the dead, and that three others received minor injuries. A police officer, Major Nur Osoble, told reporters a suicide car bomb had rammed the gates of the hotel, damaging the facade. Al Shabaab, which said it was behind the blast, frequently stages bomb and gun attacks in the capital in its bid to topple Somalia's Western-backed government. The nation is trying to rebuild after two decades of conflict and chaos.

"It is a response to attacks and helicopter bombing against al Shabaab by AMISOM and the Somali government," Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab's military operations spokesman, told reporters. AMISOM, the African Union's force in Somalia, has been battling the Islamist rebels with the Somali army. Al Shabaab has been pushed into increasingly smaller pockets of territory by a military offensive this year.

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