17 killed, 26 wounded in attacks on Mogadishu restaurants: Officials

17 killed, 26 wounded in attacks on Mogadishu restaurant (Photo by Aamin Ambulance)

At least 17 people have been killed and 26 other injured when gunmen attacked two restaurants in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Wednesday night, with an unknown number of hostages being held by the attackers.

Two of the gunmen were shot dead and 10 hostages were rescued but five other attackers were thought to remain inside, cutting off electricity to complicate security forces’ efforts to end the siege, Capt. Mohamed Hussein said.

An emergency team Aamin Ambulance said Thursday on Twitter that it has found 17 bodies and evacuated 26 people who were wounded, but has to “stop rescue work as the area became too dark while bombings are still going on.”

According to reports, 2 Kenyans and 4 Ethiopians among those evacuated in the Pizza House-Posh Treat Bombing.

A suicide bomber drove a car loaded with explosives into the Posh restaurant in Hodan district and detonated it, Nur told Xinhua.

A group of gunmen then bombed the Pizza House, a restaurant near Posh, and clashed with security personnel, he added.8 The two restaurants are frequented by government officials and young people.

A witness said the explosion was huge and could be felt from a distance.

“We heard a huge explosion which hit Pizza House and Posh House. We understand some people have been killed,” Abdullah Yasin told Xinhua.

Heavy gunfire could be heard inside the Pizza House where an unknown number of hostages were held, police said.

Somalia-based al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility.

The al-Shabaab group has launched frequent attacks on targets including civilians and government institutions in the nation since the militants were forced out of Mogadishu by African Union (AU) troops in 2011.

The terrorist group has cemented its control in southern and central Somalia and has used this area to plot and direct terror attacks, steal humanitarian aid, and to shelter other radical terrorists.

A large explosion has been heard at the centre of Mogadishu, followed by gunfire