Islamist militants rammed an explosives-laden car into a beachside restaurant in Mogadishu before moving inside the building and opening fire, killing at least six people, officials and witnesses said on Thursday.
Security forces in the capital of Somalia have been deployed to the scene. Witnesses reported ongoing gun battles inside the Banadir Beach restaurant, which also serves as a hotel.
A Somali security official who asked to be unnamed said it is believed that gunmen from the insurgent group al-Shabaab were inside, but it was unclear how many.
The attack began around 7:50 pm (1650 GMT) with a car bombing, senior Somali police officer Ahmed Aloley told dpa.
Witnesses described scenes of carnage on Lido beach, where the restaurant and hotel is located. The heavily trafficked entertainment area is especially popular on Thursday and Friday nights.
"I saw the bodies of five civilians and one hotel guard," said survivor Marwan Omar, describing blown-out windows on the restaurant and a large plume of smoke.
Another police officer, Ali Hasan Kulmiye, said the death toll "could be higher."
The Islamist group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attacks on pro-insurgent radio Andalus.
Islamist attacks on a Lido beach hotel and a restaurant in January killed at least 20 people. Somalia's nearly decade-long battle with al-Shabaab has claimed thousands of lives.
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