– first We thought that it was the police, but then they started to throw grenades and shoot at us, says a witness.

gunmen from the islamist militant group al-Shabaab have on Tuesday attacked a hotel in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, where fighting is in progress. The infested hotel is located close to the presidential residence.

– first We thought that it was police officers, but then they started to throw grenades and shoot against us, as they came closer. It came to gunfights at the gate to the hotel, ” says a policeman by the name of Ahmed.

Abdi-Aziz Abu Mus’ab, al Shabaab’s military spokesman, confirms that the islamist groups are behind the attack. He says that the group’s people are at the hotel.

the Hotel is popular among government officials and politicians.

– You can hear gunfights and granateksplosioner. I can’t confirm it, but the AWL-the hotel seems to be the victim of a terrorist attack, says a sikkerhedskilde, Abdirahman Adan.

Several witnesses said to AFP that they heard shots from automatic weapons.

Somalia lies on the Horn of Africa, has been torn by conflict and chaos since 1991, when warlords from various clans crashed a dictator.

Al-Shabaab, who has a connection to the network al-Qaeda, is fighting to overthrow the Somali government, which has support in the West.

Once controlled group of major parts of the country. It was forced out of Mogadishu in 2011 and has since lost more ground and several bastions. However, the group carries out regular bloody attacks in Somalia and in neighboring Kenya, which has troops in Somalia.

the Group, which is believed to consist of somewhere between 5000 and 9000 man, is considered to be one of the most brutal and merciless islamist groups in Africa.

In the 2013 attack members of al-Shabaab in a shopping mall in Nairobi, where they barricaded themselves in 80 hours, along with several hostages. 67 people were killed. Two years after, they carried out an attack in Kenya, where nearly 150 people at a university was shot and killed.