More than 20 people have been killed after a terror attack on a beachside restaurant in Somalia.
Police said security forces took control of the restaurant in Mogadishu just before dawn on Friday after al-Shabab gunmen laid siege on the Beach View Cafe on Lido Beach overnight.
It was not clear whether the report of more than 20 killed included the assailants.
Blasts and bursts of gunfire could be heard as Somali special forces went from room to room pursuing the al-Shabab gunmen, who were holed up inside the restaurant.
A soldier patrols on Lido beach following an attack at beachside restaurant
Damage at Lido beach
Police Captain Mohamed Hussein said Somali security forces rescued many people who were trapped inside the restaurant’s hall, where a party was taking place when the attack started on Thursday.
Witnesses said 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.
A policeman and residents walk past the wreckage of cars destroyed in a car bomb attack outside beachside restaurant Beach View Cafe
‘They randomly fired at people sitting near the beach before entering the restaurant,’ said witness Ahmed Nur, who was strolling along the shoreline when the attack happened.
Islamic extremist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, in a broadcast on its online radio late on Thursday.