Two strong explosions have been heard at a hotel near Somalia's presidential palace, and smoke could be seen rising from the hotel frequented by government officials.

Capt. Mohamed Hussein, a senior Somali police officer said Friday that a car bomb was detonated at the gate of Central hotel in Mogadishu, followed by heavy gunfire. More details were not available about the attack.

The attack bears the hallmarks of al-Shabab, an Islamic extremist group fighting the Somali government and the African Union forces in the country. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.