A suicide car bomb struck a hotel in the middle of the Somali capital Mogadishu on Friday before gunmen entered and started shooting, police said.
Al Shabaab Islamist militants claimed responsibility for the attack on the Wehliya Hotel and said they had also laid siege to another hotel in the city.
"We believe they are al Shabaab fighters. So far we understand they killed four people inside the (Wehliya) hotel," said Nur Ali, a police officer, adding that the fighting was still going on inside.
Another police officer Omar Ali, said security forces had arrived at Wehliya and were engaging the attackers on the perimeter. The hotel is frequented by top government officials.
Mohamed Osman, a hotel guest who was breaking his Ramadan fast at a restaurant inside the hotel when the attack began, said he had been shot in the leg and the fighters were in control.
"The fighters have fully occupied the hotel. They are up and downstairs. Police are just firing from the outside gate," Osman told Reuters by phone.