A huge explosion, followed by gunfire, was heard at a hotel in Somalia's port city of Kismayu, Reuters has reported, citing a local police officer.
"A blast occurred in Hotel Asasey in the heart of Kismayu, followed by gunfire. Local elders and lawmakers were having a meeting there. It is too early to know if there are any casualties," Major Mohamed Abdi, a police officer, told Reuters from Kismayu.
The Al-Shabaab Islamist militant group has claimed responsibility for the blast, adding that this was a suicide attack. According to the group's spokesman Abdiasis Abu Musab as quoted by Reuters, the fighting still continues.
BREAKING: Reports of an ongoing attack on As-Asey Hotel in the southern port town of Kismayo. Somalia based Al-Shabaab militant group claimed responsibility for the ongoing attack. #Somalua pic.twitter.com/KwCWfeVRok— Somalia Live News (@MohaBulbul) 12 июля 2019 г.
Casualties have been reported as a result of the blast, although the exact number has not been specified yet.
ALERT | Crossfires underway as #AlShabaab jihadists with car explosion rammed upmarket hotel in #Kismayo town, capital of #Jubbaland state, southern #Somalia, on Friday. Casualties reported. The photo from the city show smoke inflicted by the blast. Stay with me for more! pic.twitter.com/rxBHq9DQGU— Abdi Rahman Adani (@abdi_adaani) 12 июля 2019 г.
The As-Aseey Hotel in Kismayo is reported to be still under attack by militants.
UPDATE: As-Aseey Hotel in Kismayo is still under attack by Al Shabab Jihadists.Residents say huge exchanging gunbattle and hand grenades heard .The al-shabaab militant group claimed responsibility for the attack,saying its fighters managed to enter the hotel which frequented Mps pic.twitter.com/RfKoGULFYj— Somalia Live News (@MohaBulbul) 12 июля 2019 г.