Five killed in Somalia restaurant attacks

Mogadishu, Jan 22 (IANS) At least five people were killed and seven others injured in suicide attacks on a restaurant at the Lido Beach here, police said.

Ahmed Qalinle, a police officer, told Xinhua news agency on Thursday night that they had established the number of casualties but were expecting a possible increase as the battle between Somalia’s Special Forces and Al-Shabaab militants was underway.

“The first car exploded in front of the gate adjacent to the street as a number of heavily armed attackers made way to the restaurant from the seaside. Then shortly another car bomb went off in front of the restaurant,” said Qalinle.

A former BBC journalist and now director of the London based Somali Cable TV Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimu was among the injured in the attacks.

Police have indicated they expected casualty figures to rise since some of those who tried to escape were caught in the second explosion.

Authorities said there was a wedding ceremony in the restaurant which also hosts live music bands.

Witnesses told Xinhua they heard the explosions near the hotel, but could not establish any developments since it was already dark.

“We heard explosions from the Lido Beach area, but we have not got any information about the situation yet,” said Abshir Hirsi.

The Al-Qaeda linked group Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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