At least 18 killed in Mogadishu restaurant attack

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At least nine people were killed as a suicide bomber drove an explosive-laden auto into a hotel in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu.

In Somalia, 31 people were killed and forty others injured in an attack by armed assailants on a hotel in the capital Mogadishu.

The Shabaab has been fighting for the last decade to overthrow successive internationally-backed governments in Mogadishu and has also launched attacks in Kenya and Uganda, both contributors to a 22,000-strong African Union force in the country. The attack began at around 8pm (17.00GMT) on the evening of 14 June with a suicide auto bombing at the Post Treats restaurant and club, after which gunmen stormed inside the nearby Pizza House restaurant. Residents reported gunshots during the night.

Survivors of the attack were led by soldiers from the Pizza House restaurant building. "We do not know how many of those are dead or alive", said Major Ibrahim Hussein, as cited by Reuters.

Another 27 civilians were taken to hospital with various injuries, ambulance services said.

Simultaneously, a group of gunmen then bombed the Pizza House, a restaurant near Posh, and clashed with security personnel, he added.

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Al-Shabab, which has carried out a campaign of suicide bombings in its bid to topple the internationally recognised Somali government, claimed responsibility. "They forced those fleeing the site to go inside" the restaurant, witness Nur Yasin told the AP.

Al-Shabab, a Somalia-based extremist group that often targets popular area in Mogadishu, claimed responsibility and says their attack is ongoing.

Wednesday night's vehicle bomb blast tore the roofs off the restaurant and nearby buildings.

Security forces rescued Asian, Ethiopian, Kenyan and other workers at Posh Treats as the attack continued, Hussein said. On Sunday, the United States military reported that it killed eight Islamic extremists in an airstrike on a rebel command and logistics camp in the country's south.

The US military also confirmed its special forces killed eight al-Shabaab fighters in an airstrike conducted in southern Somalia on Sunday.

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