Al-Shabaab claim twin attacks that killed 18 in Mogadishu

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Somalia's Islamists al-Shabaab claimed twin blasts in the Hamarweyne district of the capital Mogadishu on Saturday that left at least 18 people dead.

“Successful operations carried out in Mogadishu's Hamarweyne district,” the group said on its Somali-language Twitter feed, AFP reported.

The car bomb and suicide bomber struck the popular Village Restaurant, owned by Somali businessman Ahmed Jama, who had returned to his home country from London to set up business against the advice of friends.

The Islamist militant group al-Shabaab, has carried out a campaign of suicide bombings despite withdrawing from the city in 2011 under military pressure.

Ahmed Nur, a senior police officer at the scene, told Reuters that at least 18 people had been killed.

Mohammad Yusuf, spokesman for the Mogadishu authorities, said that after the car bomb went off, a suicide bomber immediately blew himself up in the restaurant.

“First a car bomb exploded at the entrance of the restaurant, and when people converged inside a suicide bomber blew up himself,” he said.

A Reuters witness at the scene described a tangle of mangled tables, chairs, blood and pieces of human flesh. Security forces cordoned off the area and told people to stay away for fear of more blasts.

Two suicide bombers hit the same restaurant in September last year.

In the biggest attack so far this year, al-Shabaab in June assaulted the main U.N. compound in the Somali capital, killing at least 22 people.

Somalia has a new elected government that has been in charge for about a year and is striving to rebuild itself after two decades of civil war and lawlessness triggered by the over throw of President Siad Barre in 1991.

(With AFP and Reuters)