At least 10 people including soldiers and civilians were killed in a car bomb attack outside the presidential palace in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Tuesday.
The attack which also damaged two nearby hotels has been claimed by the Islamist militant group, al-Shabab.
30 others were also said to have been wounded in the attack.
Somalia’s Information Minister Mohammed Abdi Hayir told state radio that a meeting of security officials was underway in one of the hotels, the SYL, at the time of the blast adding that a minister and some state radio journalists were injured.
Al-Shabab’s military operations spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab however said the attack killed 15 soldiers and “injured many others including a lawmaker”.
Witnesses said gunshots were heard after the explosion with a huge plume of smoke seen above the presidential palace. There were also the remnants of the car used for the attack and splattered blood outside the presidential palace, witnesses told the Reuters news agency.
Al-Shabab, an affiliate of al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for several recent explosions in Mogadishu including a car bomb and a gun attack last week at a popular beach restaurant in the capital which killed 10 people.
Although the African Union Peacekeeping force AMISOM has driven al-Shabab out of the Somali capital, the group remains a serious threat launching frequent attacks aimed at overthrowing the government.