Six gunmen have stormed a beachfront restaurant following a car bombing. Security forces exchanged fire with the militants, whom officials said were alligned with Al Shabab.
The attack began in the evening on Thursday when the attackers drove their explosives-filled car into the restaurant, after which they entered the building and began shooting.
"A car bomb exploded at Banadir beach restaurant at Lido beach and there is exchange of gunfire," a police officer told Reuters news agency. "We have no other details so far."
It was unclear how many casualties there were.
Somali security personnel said they believed the militants were likely connected to the Islamist terrorist group Al Shabab, which has claimed responsibility for numerous recent attacks in the country as it attempts to overthrow the Western-backed government.
Police officers had cordoned off the area, and gunfire could still be heard as they attempted to oust the attackers from the restaurant. The establishment is reportedly frequented by Somali officials.
Al Shabab was forced out of Somalia by African Union forces in 2011, but they have retained a deadly presence in the country. Government officials worry they will try to disrupt elections slated to be held in September and October.
blc/ (dpa, AFP, Reuters)