A car bomb went off in a hotel in Somalia's port city of Kismayuo where legislators and local elders were meeting, followed by gunfire, a police officer said."A blast occurred in Hotel Asasey in the heart of Kismayo, followed by gunfire. Local elders and lawmakers were having a meeting there. It is too early to know if there are any casualties," Major Mohamed Abdi, a police officer, told Reuters news agency from Kismayo on Friday.Armed group al-Shabaab, which is believed to be linked to al-Qaeda and is trying to topple the Somali government, said it carried out a suicide attack.Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabaab's military operation spokesman, said the group was behind the attack and that fighting was still going on."First we targeted [the hotel] with a suicide car bomb and then armed 'mujahideen' [guerrilla fighters] stormed the hotel. We are still fighting inside the hotel," he said."There are many dead bodies inside the hotel, including a dead white man. We control the hotel now."Hussein Nur, a shopkeeper in Kismayo, told Reuters: "There were many people including officials and elders, mostly from one clan, who were discussing the coming Kismayo election."Nur was referring to elections in the city due sometime in August.Al-Shabab was ejected from Mogadishu in 2011 and has since been driven from most of its other strongholds. In 2012, it was driven out of Kismayo, whose port had been a major source of revenue for the group.Outside of Kismayo, al-Shabab still controls parts of Jubbaland, a region in southern Somalia.The armed group remains a major security threat, with its fighters frequently carrying out bombings in Somalia and neighbouring Kenya, whose troops form part of the African Union-mandated peacekeeping force that helps defend the Somali government.