At least 20 people died and 30 others were wounded in a suicide car bombing outside of a restaurant near the port in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, late Friday night, emergency officials and police said.
A car full of explosives was set off at the gates of Luul Yemeni restaurant near Mogadishu’s port around 8:00 p.m. local time, Capt. Aden Osman, a senior police officer, told CNN.
Heavy gunfire followed the explosion.
The blast caused mass destruction of several buildings and business centers in the surrounding area, Osman added.
“So far, we have carried 20 dead people and 30 injured from the blast scene,” Dr. Abdulkadir Aden, founder of AAMIN Ambulance services, told Reuters.
Somalia’s state-controlled media outlet Radio Mogadishu reported that police had cordoned off the area of destruction.
“Plumes of white smoke covered the city after the enormous explosion followed by gunfire,” said witness Liban Yusuf, adding that a building near the site of the attack collapsed, and a search-and-rescue operation was ongoing to uncover people from the rubble.
The terror group al-Shabaab took responsibility for the attack through a statement posted on its network of sites.
This is not the first time the restaurant had been attacked. It was first attacked in August 2020. That same month, Al-Shabab attacked a beach resort, killing at least 15 people.
The latest attack comes as Mogadishu has tight security measures in place as the country is reeling from a political crisis having to do with a delayed election.
Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo had a mandate, which expired on February 8, and there has not been an election held since.