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Death Toll in Somalia Beach Restaurant Attack Rises to Ten

Al Qaida-linked al Shabaab claimed the attack, which triggered a gun battle that ended at around 3:00 a.m. local time.

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The wreckage of vehicles destroyed in a the car bomb explosion. Credit: Reuters

At least ten people have been killed after al Shabaab fighters attacked a beach restaurant in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Thursday. BBC reports that a car bomb went off near the establishment before a gunfight with security forces broke out, according to police.

“A car bomb exploded at Banadir beach restaurant at Lido beach and there is exchange of gunfire. We have no other details so far,” Major Ahmed Ibrahim, a police officer, told Reuters.

The casualties comprised six civilians, two members of the security forces and two of the attackers, Ali Abdullahi, a police officer, said on Friday.

Al Qaida-linked al Shabaab claimed the attack, which triggered a gun battle that ended at around 3:00 a.m. local time, police said.

“We attacked the Banadir beach restaurant and now our fighters are fighting inside it,” Abdiasis Abu Musab, its military operation spokesman, told Reuters.

The Associated Press reported that a car bomber had prematurely detonated an explosives-laden vehicle near the new Turkish embassy compound in the capital, according to a Somali police officer.

Al Shabaab, has carried out a series of deadly attacks in Somalia to try to topple the Western-backed government.

In January, its militants stormed another restaurant on Lido beach, killing 17 people and on Sunday, more than 20 people were killed when its suicide bombers detonated two car bombs at a local government headquarters in Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region.

A policeman and residents walk past the wreckage of cars destroyed in a car bomb attack outside beachside restaurant Beach View Cafe on Lido beach, in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, January 22, 2016. Credit: Reuters

A policeman and residents walk past the wreckage of cars destroyed in a car bomb attack outside beachside restaurant Beach View Cafe on Lido beach, in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, January 22, 2016. Credit: Reuters

On Thursday, Reuters witnesses near the scene of the beach attack said the restaurant had been sealed off by security officers and that the attackers had lobbed grenades at the officers and fired at them.

They said they had also seen two bodies lying on the ground.

Internal Security Minister Abdirizak Omar Mohamed posted on his Twitter account: “Warning: People near the blast scene should stay in the hotels and in their houses in which they are inside. Cars should not enter Lido beach area.”

Al Shabaab was pushed out of Mogadishu by the African Union peacekeeping force AMISOM in 2011 but has remained a potent threat in Somalia, launching frequent attacks aimed at overthrowing the Western-backed government.

In a separate incident in southern Somalia, a roadside bomb believed to have been planted by al Shabaab militants wounded at three people in Baardheere town in Gedo region, Colonel Hussein Nur, a police officer in the town, told Reuters by phone.

(With inputs from Reuters)