A still from a Reuters TV video shows a secondary explosion after a suspected suicide car bomb rammed into the gates of a hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Jan. 25, 2017. Reuters

An Islamist group's car, gun and bomb attack on an African hotel left at least 28 people dead, 43 injured and thousands in mourning Wednesday in Mogadishu, Somalia.

"All the neighboring houses have been destroyed," newspaper editor Yusuf Hassan told Al Jazeera. "I see people crying because they have lost their relatives. It is really a big tragedy."

The attacks started just after 8 a.m. local time in the Somalian capital of Mogadishu, which has a population of about 3 million people. A car slammed into the gates in front of the Dayah Hotel and exploded before radicals staged a gunfight in order to break in. Once inside, the shots continued, CBS News reported.

As journalists, politicians and passers-by gathered at the scene, the militants set off a second bomb. The Dayah's doors and windows were blown out, but security guards rushed in to save who they could from the hotel, which is located near the parliamentary building.

Al-Shabaab, a militant organization with ties to al-Qaeda and a goal of making Somalia a fundamentalist Islamic state, then claimed to be behind the early-morning siege, the Guardian reported. "The mujahideen fighters have attacked a hotel and have managed to enter the hotel after detonating a car loaded with explosives," it wrote in a statement distributed online.

Al-Shabaab attacks in Somalia, where the organization is trying to overthrow the government, have become increasingly common. The group, which is estimated to have up to 9,000 fighters, "is responsible for the assassination of Somali peace activists, international aid workers, numerous civil society figures and journalists, and for blocking the delivery of aid from some Western relief agencies," according to the National Counterterrorism Center.

In December, al-Shabaab killed about 30 people in Mogadishu when a suicide bomber in a bus detonated explosives next to the city's port and police complex. During the summer, the group targeted the Nasa Hablod hotel and killed 15 people.