A suicide bomber slammed a truck loaded with explosives into the walls of the Jazeera Palace Hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia, killing 13 and leaving 40 seriously injured.

The al-Qaeda linked Islamist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack claiming it was their way of responding to the assaults by an African Union force and the Somali government.

Jazeera Palace Hotel, which is located 300m from the Aden Abdulle International Airport, is frequented by diplomats, foreigners and heads of state.

"According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, three embassy staff and a guard at the Chinese embassy inside the hotel were killed in the incident."

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, three embassy staff and a guard at the Chinese embassy inside the hotel were killed in the incident.

The 70-room hotel has been severely damaged in the incident with eight rooms suffering maximum damage.

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The hotel has standard, deluxe rooms, deluxe and presidential suites, and also offers balconies for sea and land views of Mogadishu. It also features two restaurants, conference rooms and a health club.

The attack comes after US president Barack Obama’s visit to neighbouring countries Kenya and Ethiopia, where topics of discussion included dealing with the threat of al-Shabab, reported Associated Press.

The White House Press Office issued a statement saying: "Despite the very real progress Somalia has achieved in recent years, this attack is yet another reminder of the unconscionable atrocities that terrorist groups continue to perpetrate against the people of Somalia."