Reuters news agency said al-Shabab fighters claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack.
Witnesses and social media users reported hearing a loud explosion in Mogadishu, followed by gunfire.
“There was a blast close to the SYL Hotel area, near the main checkpoint of the presidential palace,” said Ibrahim Mohamed, a security officer.
Images posted to social media showed huge plumes of smoke rising above the president’s palace.
Al-Shabab fighters have claimed responsibility for several recent explosions in Mogadishu, including a car bomb and gun attack last week at a popular beach restaurant that killed 10 people.