At least twenty people have been killed in Somali’s capital after Islamist gunmen stormed a popular beachside restaurant, setting off two car bombs and battling government soldiers trying to flush them out.
Al Shabaab, a militant group which is aligned with al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack on the Beach View Cafe on Mogadishu’s popular Lido beach.
Witnesses said al Shabaab fighters set off the first car bomb at dusk. A huge second blast, which they said echoed around Mogadishu city centre, struck about an hour later as government soldiers laid siege to the restaurant.
Somali security forces ended the deadly siege just before dawn on Friday after they pursued the gunmen who were holed up inside the restaurant.
Somali Prime Minister, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, condemned the attack as “barbaric”.
Lido Beach, on the northern edge of Mogadishu, attracts thousands of mostly young Somalis looking to relax and enjoy the beach and the surf.
Several restaurants have opened up along the beach front in recent years, and people would have been sitting out in front of them when the attacks began.
Despite being pushed out of Somali’s major cities and towns, al-Shabab continues to launch deadly guerrilla attacks across the Horn of Africa country.