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Sat May 28 00:08:48 SAST 2016

Islamist gunmen kill 17 in Somalia beach restaurant attack

REUTERS | 22 January, 2016 08:09
Residents swim in the Indian Ocean waters near the ruined at Lido beach, north of Somalia's capital Mogadishu, in this October 19, 2012 file photo. At least 17 people were killed when Islamist gunmen struck a popular beachside restaurant in the Somali capital of Mogadishu late on Thursday, Somali police said. "The operation ended at 3 a.m. last night and at least 17 civilians were killed," police officer Osman Nur told Reuters on January 22, 2016. File photo
Image by: FEISAL OMAR / REUTERS

At least 17 people were killed when Islamist gunmen struck a popular beachside restaurant in the Somali capital of Mogadishu late on Thursday, Somali police said.

Al Shabaab, a militant group aligned with al Qaeda, said its members set off two car bombs at the Beach View Cafe on Mogadishu's popular Lido beach, engaging in a gun battle for hours with government troops trying to flush them out.

"The operation ended at 3 a.m. last night and at least 17 civilians were killed," police officer Osman Nur told Reuters on Friday.

Police said al Shabaab fighters set off the first car bomb at dusk. A huge second blast, which witnesses said echoed around the city centre, struck about an hour later as government soldiers laid siege to the restaurant.

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