Al Shabaab Claims Beach Restaurant Attack in Mogadishu – UPDATED

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Armed Gunmen have stormed a popular beach restaurant in Mogadishu after setting off a car bomb at the main entrance of the building on Thursday evening at around 7:30 P.M. local time in Somalia.

Capt. Mohamed Hussein, a Somali police officer, said at least three gunmen wearing military uniforms and armed with AK-47 riffles have fought their way onto the ground following a massive car bomb at the gate.

Hussein said up to 6 people, including two women, were killed as the popular restaurant on Liido beach in Mogadishu was targeted by a suicide car bomb and gun attack. The restaurant is located near the Turkish Embassy in Somalia.

An unknown number of people are still trapped inside the restaurant, and the death toll is likely to rise before the attack is over, he said, adding that darkness is hampering efforts by the security forces to overwhelm the assailants.

“After the huge car bomb blast, I saw at least three armed men run into the hotel, shooting everyone inside and around the hotel,” Hajji Warsame, a beach visitor, told ArmedPolitics by phone.

Warsame added that the gunmen shouted “Allahu Akbar,”  which means “God is great,” and entered the restaurant from the direction of the beach as customers, sitting behind razor wire, watched the seashore.

Al Shabaab, the Al Qaeda-linked group based in Somalia, has claimed responsibility for the attack on the Banadir beach restaurant, according to Sheikh Abdulaziz Abu Musab who spoke to Andalus Radio, the mouthpiece channel of the militants.

Somali security officials said 22 people were rescued from the siege, and one Al Shabaab fighter was captured alive when he was critically wounded in the gunfight; two more attackers are said to be fighting inside.

The attack was the second of its kind in Somalia; on Thursday afternoon, at least 13 people were wounded in a bomb blast at market in the town of Bardere in the Gedo region, near the Kenyan-Somali border.

Omar Nor

Omar Nor is senior reporter in the field covering for ArmedPolitics from the vast East Africa region, focusing on  political issues including scenarios of conflict, with a special focus on Al-Shabaab. Follow Omar on Twitter at @Omaar_nor