Police and eyewitnesses said huge explosions followed by gunfire were heard at the Central Hotel in Hamarweyene district, usually frequented by politicians and foreigners.

"Among those killed are minister for seaports, deputy mayor of Mogadishu and a parliament member,"  a police officer who declined to be named was quoted as saying.

He said the country's minister for aviation and a lawmaker were among those wounded during the explosions.

Senior Somali government officials, including the deputy prime minister, were meeting in the hotel at the time of the attack.

The Al Shabaab terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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