Bomb blasts in Mogadishu have killed at least 15 people and devastated a popular restaurant for the second time in under a year. The Village Eatery was frequented by government workers and al Shabab claimed the attack.
Two bombs ripped through a popular restaurant in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, on Saturday, killing at least 15 people. Police said nearly two dozen others were wounded.
Police and witnesses said the first blast came from a car laden with explosives that was parked by the restaurant and close to Mogadishu's National Theater. Minutes later, a suicide bomber detonated his device as passers-by rushed to the scene.
"Successful operations carried out in Hamarweyne," al-Shabab wrote on their Somali-language Twitter feed, referring to the neighborhood in Mogadishu where the bombs went off.
In 2012, al-Qaeda–linked al-Shabab insurgents struck at the theater, killing two of Somalia's top sporting officials who were attending an event there. It had just re-opened after a break of two decades.
African Union-led forces had pushed al-Shabab out of Mogadishu in August of 2011. The rebels continued to stage suicide attacks despite a 17,700-strong African Union force fighting alongside the national army.
An interior ministry official at the scene of Saturday's blasts, Mohamed Abdi, said the attackers struck the restaurant "because they hate to see people peacefully spending time together."
Their most brazen recent attack was a suicide commando assault on a fortified UN compound in the centre of Mogadishu in June that killed 11 people, including UN development aid workers.
Somalia's embattled government, selected last year in a UN-backed process, was hailed at the time by the international community as offering the best chance for peace in Somalia since the collapse of the central government in 1991.
ipj/tj (Reuters, AP)