Mogadishu hotel blast kills 23

Twin auto bombs exploded outside a hotel in Mogadishu, killing at least 10 people in Somalia's capital Saturday, local officials said.

As night fell, sporadic gunfire could be heard around the hotel as both soldiers and ambulances responded to the attack.

The Somali government blamed the October 14 blast on al-Shabab, but no group has claimed responsibility.

Saturday's explosions occurred two weeks after an enormous blast in Mogadishu that killed at least 358 people.

Police officer Major Abdullahi Aden told Reuters the vehicle bomb said: 'They are fighting inside.

One senior police official and a former MP are among the dead.

Mohamed Dek Haji said he survived the bombing as he walked beside a parked vehicle that was largely destroyed by the explosion.

"The Mujahedeen fighters are inside Nasa Hablod 2 hotel where... apostate officials are staying", it said.

He suffered small injuries on his shoulder and skull from flying glass.

In a written statement, the ministry said on its website: "We strongly condemn this heinous terrorist attack".

Witnesses said gunmen are fighting inside.

In the first attack, a suicide auto bomb rammed into the popular Nasahablod Two hotel, about 600 metres from the presidential place, before gunmen stormed the building.

Terror group Al-Shabab, which has links to al-Qaeda, often targets high profile areas in the city.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has been appealing to neighbouring countries in a bid to drum up support in the fight against the Islamic extremist terror cult.

U.S. military officials and others in recent months have expressed concern that Somali forces are not yet ready.

The U.S. military also has stepped up military efforts against al-Shabab this year in Somalia, carrying out almost 20 drone strikes, as the global war on extremism moves deeper into the African continent.

  • Jon Douglas