MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Somali Islamist group al Shabaab said on Friday its fighters had set off a car bomb and stormed a hotel in the capital, which residents said sent a large plume of smoke into the air.
There were no immediate reports of casualties, although al Shabaab has often launched attacks in Mogadishu on a Friday - the Somali weekend - when people often visit hotels and restaurants. Residents reported gunfire after the blast.
"We started with a car bomb and then stormed the hotel. We are inside it and fighting continues," al Shabaab's military operations spokesman, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, told Reuters. He said it was the Somali Youth League hotel, known as the SYL hotel.
(Reporting by Feisal Omar and Abdi Sheikh; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Louise Ireland)