Gunmen posing as military forces were holding dozens of hostages inside a popular restaurant in Somalia’s capital in an attack that began when a car bomb exploded at the gate, police and a witness said Wednesday night, while the extremist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility.
Police said at least nine people had been killed and several wounded. Most of the victims were young men who were entering the Pizza House when the vehicle exploded, Capt. Mohamed Hussein said.
A burst of gunfire was later heard inside the restaurant, Hussein said.
The gunmen “were dressed in military uniforms. They forced those fleeing the site to go inside” the restaurant, witness Nur Yasin told The Associated Press.
The blast largely destroyed the restaurant’s facade and sparked a fire. While al-Shabab claimed to have attacked the neighboring Posh Treats restaurant, which is frequented by the city’s elite and was damaged in the blast, security officials said the Pizza House was targeted instead.
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