Twin car bombs killed at least 17 people in Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Saturday, police said, and al-Shabaab extremist group claimed responsibility.
A suicide car bomb was rammed into a hotel, Nasahablod Two, about 600 meters from the presidential palace, and then armed militants stormed the building, police said.
A few minutes later a car bomb exploded near the former parliament house nearby.
The twin attacks came just two weeks after a massive truck bomb exploded in central Mogadishu, killing at least 358 people, making it the deadliest attack in the troubled country's history.
Ali Nur, a police officer, told Reuters 17 people, mostly policemen, had died in Saturday’s blasts.
"Security forces have entered a small portion of the hotel building ... the exchange of gunfire is hellish," he said.
The police personnel who died had been stationed close to hotel's gate. The dead also included a former lawmaker, he said.
Fighting continued to rage inside the hotel and police said the death toll was likely to rise.
Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of Amin ambulances, told Reuters the emergency service had carried 17 people injured from the hotel blast.
Shabaab, responsible for scores of such attacks, said it carried out Saturday's bombings.
"We targeted ministers and security officials who were inside the hotel. We are fighting inside," Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group's military operations spokesman, told Reuters.
He said the hotel belonged to Somalia's internal security minister, Mohamed Abukar Islow.