MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A suicide bomber has detonated an explosives-laden truck near the gate of Somalia's presidential palace in the capital on Tuesday, killing at least five people, police say.
The bomb exploded during a morning traffic jam, said Capt. Mohamed Hussein, a senior police officer.
Some Cabinet ministers at the SYL hotel were among the injured, said Hussein. The blast damaged nearby hotels often frequented by government officials and business executives, he said.
The explosion was heard across Mogadishu, and smoke was seen billowing over the area of the presidential compound.
Somalia's Islamic extremist group al-Shabab has claimed the responsibility for the blast, according to the rebels' Andalus radio station.
Mogadishu's Madina hospital received 28 injured victims, said Dr. Mohamed Yusuf, the hospital's director.
The massive blast has left a trail of destruction across the hilltop presidential complex and to nearby hotels. The bombing tore into blast walls protecting hotels and blew off the roofs of nearby houses.
"Security forces tried to stop the bomber who used back roads before he sped through checkpoints near the presidential palace and detonated the bomb," said Col. Ali Nur, a police officer. "He reached near the gate of the state house with flat tires."