A truck bomb exploded outside a hotel in Somali capital Mogadishu on Tuesday, killing at least 22 people in a heavily secured area close to the presidential palace.
A security conference was under way at the hotel at the time of the blast, the BBC reported. The Islamist Al-Shabab group, which is affiliated to the Al-Qaeda, said it is behind the attack.
“Security forces tried to stop the bomber who used back roads before he sped through checkpoints near the presidential palace and detonated the bomb,” a police officer was quoted as saying. “He reached near the gate of the state house with flat tyres.”
The Al-Shabab is fighting to oust Somalia’s UN-backed government and establish an Islamic state. The Somali Youth League (SYL) Hotel is a popular meeting place for government officials and has been targeted by militants before.