Somali forces end siege of a Mogadishu restaurant, 20 killed

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Somalia’s security forces ended a deadly siege of a beachfront restaurant in the capital, with more than 20 people killed in the attack, a police official said.

Al-Shabaab militants killed at least 20 people when five gunmen detonated a bomb before storming a popular seaside restaurant in the capital Mogadishu.

The security forces took control of the restaurant just before dawn, said Capt. Mohamed Hussein, speaking from the scene of the attack in Mogadishu.

It was not clear whether Hussein’s report of more than 20 killed included the assailants.

The Lido beach area in Mogadishu is busy with restaurants, including upmarket establishments popular with business people and diaspora Somalis who have returned home to the city.

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Blasts and bursts of gunfire could be heard as Somali special forces went from room to room pursuing the al-Shabaab gunmen who were holed up inside the restaurant.

Hussein said the security forces rescued many people who had been trapped inside the restaurant’s hall, where a party was taking place when the attack started on Thursday.

Witnesses said that gunmen shouted “Allahu akbar,” the Arabic phrase for “God is great,” and entered the restaurant from the direction of the beach as clients, sitting behind razor wire, watched the seashore.

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