Deadly car bomb targets restaurant in Somalia
MOGADISHU - At least three people including a child were killed Saturday in a car bomb blast outside a restaurant in the capital Mogadishu, officials and witnesses said.
"There was an explosion against a restaurant in the Beyhani district. Three civilians were killed and five others injured," said Abdifatah Halane, a spokesman for the Banadir province which includes the capital.
Witnesses said that the car, packed with explosives, was parked just outside the restaurant, and produced a massive blast.
"The explosion was enormous... I saw several corpses, including one of a child," said one witness, Farhan Mohamed.
Several sources said that the restaurant, which is in the northern part of the city, was regularly used by Somali security forces, although it was unclear if any were there at the time.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but the Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab jihadist group regularly mounts car bomb attacks and assassinations on government targets.
They have also stepped up deadly attacks in recent months on restaurants and some of Mogadishu's most high-profile hotels.
Shebab leaders have vowed to bring down the Somali government, which is supported by the international community and defended by the African Union's 22,000-strong AMISOM mission.
Confronted with AMISOM's superior fire power, deployed from 2007, Shebab militants were chased out of Mogadishu in August 2011.
The group subsequently lost its main strongholds, although it still controls vast rural areas from which it mounts guerilla operations and suicide attacks, often targeting the capital.