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Two Blasts Touched Off in Somali Capital; Seven Killed


Somali security forces attend the scene of a car bomb attack on a restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia, April 5, 2017.

A heavy explosion was heard Wednesday night in Mogadishu, a police officer said, hours after a car bomb killed at least seven people in the Somali capital.

Details were sketchy, but Police Captain Aden Hassan said the second blast occurred in front of a fast-food shop close to the former Turkish Embassy compound in the Hodan district.

The explosion "was heavy and could be heard throughout the city," Hassan said.

Abdifatah Omar Halane, spokesman for the Mogadishu administration, said that "so far, the security officials who responded to the incident confirmed to us that one person was injured. We believe al-Shabab is always behind such attacks."

The earlier blast ripped through a new cafe popular among government workers and assorted diaspora. At least 15 people were injured, including three students.

Witnesses and officials said a car packed with explosives had been parked outside the shop, located near offices that house the ministries of internal security and youth and sports. Officials said the suspect who parked the car drove away in another vehicle moments before the explosion.

Witnesses said the explosion shook buildings in the area.

“We were inside when we heard the explosion. We came out and saw a vehicle burning,” said Ahmed Yanyo, one of the workers at the coffee shop.

Halane confirmed the seven casualties and said the wounded had been evacuated. "The victims are young men and elderly who were having drinks. We are very sorry for the loss of life among the civilians,” he said, adding that the government was investigating the incident.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack, but the al-Qaida-linked extremist group al-Shabab has carried out similar attacks in the past.

Observers said there had been an uptick in explosions and assassinations in the capital over the last two months.