At least eight people were killed and dozens injured on Sunday after an explosion by suspected Al-Shabaab militants at the newly built Elite Hotel on Lido Beach in Mogadishu.
Officials were still assessing the damage by press time but sources told the Nation that eight people had been killed and at least 30 wounded in the incident that was followed by gunfire.
The attack may have targeted Somalia Education Minister Godeh Barre and other government officials seen at the facility.
Mr Barre escaped unhurt but some officials were injured. Among the dead was Abdirazak Abdullahi Abdi, a Director in the Somali Ministry of Information.
The owner of the hotel, who was identified as Abdullahi Mohamed Nur, was rescued.
Somalia's security agencies responded to the incident. Gunshots continued to be fired at the facility but it was not clear whether the militants were still attacking the people.
Sources told the Nation the blast went off as a number of legislators and senior government officials gathered for a meeting.
Former MP Bashir Adow and Advisor to Somalia Prime Minister Hundubey Omar Dhegey were the other officials who escaped unhurt.
"It is heartbreaking to learn of the death of the director, who called me 30 minutes before," Ilyas Ali Hassan, Somali senator and Foreign Affairs secretary for opposition party Himilo-Qaran, wrote on his Twitter page on Sunday.
"I hope those still inside the building will be safe and rescued. I ask health workers and other related agencies to help those injured in this attack."
The hotel is a recent addition to the Mogadishu skyline but is a popular destination for government officials and business people in Mogadishu.
Lido Beach is a generally popular public destination especially for young people.