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Somali Forces End Deadly Restaurant Siege

A Somali policeman looks at the wreckage of a vehicle destroyed by a car bomb at the Banadir beach restaurant at Lido beach in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, Aug. 25, 2016.

Somali security forces say they have ended a deadly siege of a beach-front restaurant in the capital, with at least seven people killed in the attack along with two assailants.

Mogadishu's police chief, Colonel Abshir Bishar, said the attack ended just before dawn Friday morning.

"The security forces have ended their operation in which they rescued most of the civilians who were stranded inside the restaurant building and now we are in full control of the restaurant," said Bishar, speaking from the scene of the attack in Mogadishu.

The attack started Thursday night when a car bomb went off near Banadir Beach restaurant, followed by a gun battle.

Banadir beach, in Mogadishu, Somalia
Banadir beach, in Mogadishu, Somalia

Al-Shabab militants quickly claimed the responsibility for the attack.

Bishar said the death toll included five civilians and two security personnel. He said two assailants were also killed. Security forces said they have arrested another militant involved in the attack.

Witnesses saw volunteers carrying the dead from the attack scene early Friday. Mogadishu emergency ambulances also transported four wounded people to hospitals.

"We found the driver of the car bomb with some wounds lying next to the burned-out car this morning, and now he is being treated at one of our health facilities," said Abdi Farey, the commander of Mogadishu regional security.

In an interview with the VOA Somali service, the owner of the attacked restaurant, Abdirisaq Mohamed Jumale, said “two of the dead were the restaurant staff.”

The area along Mogadishu's Lido beach has many new restaurants and up-market establishments popular with people in business and from the diaspora.

In June, Turkey opened its largest embassy in the world in the neighborhood.

Al-Shabab attacked a neighboring hotel in January, killing more than 20 people.

A separate blast Thursday at a market in the southern Somali town of Bardhere wounded 12 people, including security officials and the district commissioner.

Al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab is waging a campaign of terrorism to try to overthrow the Somali government. Police, security officials and tourist spots are the militants' most frequent targets.