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Al-Shabab Claims Responsibility for Mogadishu Restaurant Attack


Two ambulances stand on the scene of a bomb attack at Lido Beach, in Mogadishu, Somalia, Jan. 21, 2016.

Militant group Al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for an attack on a restaurant in the Somali capital that a witness says killed at least two people and injured four others.

Attackers stormed the restaurant of the Lido Beach View Hotel Thursday evening, setting off explosions and firing on guests.

A top Somali intelligence official tells VOA's Somali service that security forces are flushing out the militants from the hotel and have captured the leader of the gunmen.

Earlier, a journalist inside the restaurant told VOA by phone that he could see two bodies and four injured people on the floor. He said that he and more than 20 other people were trapped. The intelligence official says most, but not all, of the people have been rescued.

Security officials declined to comment on the casualty figure.

Map of Mogadishu, Somalia
Map of Mogadishu, Somalia

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack through a pro-militant radio station in the capital. A spokesman for the group said, "We are inside and control the hotel. Our operation was successful."

Mohamud Hared, the owner of the nearby Indian Ocean Restaurant, told VOA's Somali service that he heard gunfire and two separate explosions.

“We heard a heavy gunfire and then explosion followed, gunfire ensued again for 15 minutes and then explosions," Hared said. "We do not know exactly what has happened as we are ducking inside our restaurant.”

A reporter for VOA in Mogadishu says government security forces have sealed off roads to and from the restaurant. He says ambulances carrying injured people could be seen coming out of the area.