Gunmen storm beach restaurant in Somali capital Mogadishu

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(Last Updated On: August 26, 2016)

Several gunman attacked a beachfront restaurant in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Thursday, prompting an exchange of fire with the security forces, an AFP correspondent said.

The incident began when a nearby car exploded, after which the gunmen ran into the restaurant, a popular eatery near Lido beach. Somali security forces at the scene then exchanged fire with the gunmen who were holed up inside, the correspondent said.

Shots could still be heard coming from the scene, he added, as officers set up a security cordon around the restaurant.

It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties.

 Several Somali news outlets reported that the jihadist Shabaab group had claimed responsibility for the attack on the restaurant, which is often frequented by Somali officials.

An Al-Qaeda aligned group, the Shabaab is fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in the capital Mogadishu.

It was forced out of the capital by African Union soldiers five years ago but continues to launch regular attacks including many in recent months on restaurants, hotels and military bases, often using suicide car bombers and gunmen.

The group is expected to try and violently disrupt elections due to be held in September and October.

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