Jihadist rebels attacked a hotel in the Somali capital with bombs and machine guns on Sunday, authorities said.

Jihadist rebels attacked a hotel in the Somali capital with bombs and machine guns on Sunday, authorities said.

A vehicle loaded with explosives rammed into the entrance gate of Hotel Afrik, near a road junction in Mogadishu, police spokesman Sadiq Adan Ali reported.

Armed men then stormed the building, firing at staff and guests, he added. The pro-government forces responded to the siege and shots were heard from inside the building. The police rescued several people, including the hotel owner and an army general.

At least seven injured civilians were seen on the premises, although police did not immediately give a casualty report.

The Somali jihadist group Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the assault through its radio channel Andalus.

We know it is them because they have not changed their tactics: they enter with a vehicle loaded with explosives and then invade the site with armed men, Ali said.

In a separate incident, at least eight children were killed and dozens injured when a bomb went off in Golweyn, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the coastal town of Merca, about 120 kilometers (74 miles) south of Mogadishu.

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