A suicide car bomb exploded just outside a restaurant near the port in the Somali capital Mogadishu late on Friday, sending plumes of smoke into the sky and triggering gunfire, witnesses and state-owned media reported.
The number of casualties from the blast was not immediately clear. “So far we have carried about 25 injured people,” said Dr. Abdulkadir Aden of the AAMIN ambulance services. “The casualties may be more, we are rushing back to the scene.”
The blast occurred at the Luul Yemeni restaurant near the port, witnesses said.
“A speeding car exploded at Luul Yemeni restaurant. I was going to the restaurant but ran back when the blast shook and covered the area with smoke,” resident Ahmed Abdullahi, who lives near the site, told Reuters.
Somalia’s state-controlled Radio Mogadishu reported there was “loss of lives,” injuries and destruction of property and that police had cordoned off the area.
Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the blast.
Islamist group Al-Shabab frequently carries out such bombings in Somalia and elsewhere as part of its campaign to topple the Horn of African country’s central government and establish its own rule based on its strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.