MOGADISHU – At least 19 people have been killed and 28 others wounded in an attack involving gunmen and a suicide blast outside Pizza House and Posh Treats restaurants in Mogadishu.
Heavily armed gunmen fought their way inside the restaurant after the blast and took hostages in Pizza House, according to police officer Hassan Nour. A Syrian national was among those killed in the attack on Wednesday night, says Nour.
The operation continued through last night but Somali special security forces have by now ended the siege at the popular Mogadishu restaurant, he added. Hussen Kadie, an eyewitness, told The Messenger Africa that at least five young girls were among those killed in the attack, adding that neighboring buildings were damaged by the explosion.
“I saw with my own eyes bodies of five girls on the ground. Posh Treats restaurant was also destroyed by the blast. I ran away from there,” Kadie said. Tens of cars were mangled from the attack, according to images taken from the scene of the blast.
The armed group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack that killed the girls on Wednesday in Mogadishu. “One of our mujaheddin fighters with his suicide car bomb blew himself up when he rammed into Posh Hotel,” said the group’s military spokesman Abdiasis Abu Musab. The group vowed to step up its attacks against hotels, coffee shops and popular eateries in the capital Mogadishu.
Reporting by Abdirizak Mohamud Tuuryare