Mogadishu blast: 'Suicide attack' in Somali capital
Casualties are feared after a suspected suicide attack at a hotel in Mogadishu, reports from Somalia say.
Some reports say there was an initial blast inside Hotel Maka and shortly afterwards a car exploded just outside.
The hotel lies on one of the capital's main roads, which the authorities say is usually safe.
Islamist militant group al-Shabab was driven out of Mogadishu two years ago but often stages suicide attacks in the city.
The BBC's Ibrahim Mohamed Adan in Mogadishu says a loud explosion was heard in the city's administrative centre just before 20:00 local time (17:00 GMT).
The Hotel Maka is on the Maka Mukaramah road which links the presidential palace to the airport, one of the most heavily guarded areas of Mogadishu.
Our reporter says witnesses nearby told him they could see the wreckage of a car burning outside the hotel.
The Somali government is fighting al-Shabab, which is part of the al-Qaeda network, for control of the country.
The militants have been driven out of Somalia's major towns by a UN-mandated African Union force of some 18,000 soldiers, which is backing the government.
But the Islamist group still controls many towns and rural areas of southern Somalia.
In September, the group said it was behind the attack on the Westgate shopping centre in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, in which at least 67 people died during a four-day siege.