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Somalia: Deadly blast hits Mogadishu restaurant

March 6, 2021

Police suspect a suicide bomber blew up a car outside a popular restaurant in the capital city. Victims were still reportedly being pulled from the rubble through the evening.

Man stands next to rubble after a car bombing in Mogadishu, Somalia
Rescuers in Mogadishu worked into the night searching for people buried in the rubbleImage: Farah Abdi Warsameh/AP/dpa/picture alliance

Several people were killed when an explosives-packed car detonated at a restaurant in the Somalian capital of Mogadishu on Friday.

Authorities fear the death toll could rise as emergency crews continue to pull out people trapped in the rubble.

What do we know so far?

At least 21 people were killed over 30 others were wounded in the blast, local police told news agency dpa.

Authorities earlier told the Associated Press that at least 10 people had been killed.

The explosion occurred at dinner time when the restaurant was full. The blast reportedly could be heard across the city.

In addition to the restaurant, several nearby buildings were also damaged and at least one collapsed after the bombing. 

This is the second time the Luul-Yemeni restaurant, which is popular with city workers, government employees and security personnel, has been attacked.

Ambulances near site of a suicide bombing in Mogadishu, Somalia
The popular restaurant was also targeted in an attack last yearImage: Sadak Mohamed/AA/picture alliance

Authorities blamed the attack on the al-Shabab extremist group.

The group is linked to al-Qaida and frequently carries out attacks against targets like hotels and restaurants in the city of Mogadishu.

For years, the group has been carrying out bombings as part of its bid to topple the central government in Somalia, located in the Horn of Africa. 

Al-Shabab currently controls large parts of the country's south and center.

Explosion follows prison attack

Earlier in the day suspected militants from the group also attacked a prison in the port city of Bosaso, in the semi-autonomous province of Puntland, killing at least eight security personnel.

Several inmates then escaped, including suspected terrorists, police said.

Al-Shabab also took credit for that attack, claiming the assailants freed nearly 400 prisoners.

Anti-government demonstrations postponed

Security in Mogadishu had been especially heavy, with thousands of government forces deployed in anticipation of a planned demonstration on Saturday by an alliance of opposition leaders over the country's delayed national election.

Following the deadly violence, the demonstrations were postponed.

mb/rs (AFP, AP, Reuters)