Five Armed Al Shabab militants stormed a popular beachside restaurant in Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Thursday, detonating two car bombs and clashing with government soldiers trying to neutralise them, leaving at least 20 people dead, police said Friday.
"They killed nearly 20 people, including women and children," Somali police officer Mohamed Abdirahman said, describing the incident as a "barbaric and brutal attack against innocent civilians".
Somali security forces took control of the cafe after hours of fighting, officials said early on Friday.
Al Shabab - which has been designated as a “terrorist organisation” by the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and NATO - claimed responsibility for the attack on the Beach View Cafe on Mogadishu's popular Lido beach.
According to police records, Al Shabab militants set off the first car bomb initially. Then struck about an hour later as government soldiers laid siege to the restaurant, witnesses said.
"The second car bomb has just exploded and the fighters are still inside," said Major Farah Abdulle, a police officer .
Al Shabab militants have carried out violent attacks targeting government officials and civilians.
Moreover, Al Shabab have since been responsible for a chain of attacks in Kenya, with the deadliest occurring in April this year when the group’s gunmen murdered 148 people at Garissa University in the country's east.
The group also claimed responsibility for the 2013 Westgate Mall assault in the capital that killed 67 people and injured almost 200 others.