The attack targeted a crowded tea shop near heavily guarded government institutions that is often frequented by members of the Somali security forces.

In this file photo, Somalis help a civilian who was wounded in suicide bomb attack at a military base in Mogadishu on June 15, 2021.
In this file photo, Somalis help a civilian who was wounded in suicide bomb attack at a military base in Mogadishu on June 15, 2021. (AP)

A suicide bombing attack by the Al Shabab militant group on a crowded tea shop in Somalia's capital Mogadishu killed 10 people and wounded dozens, the government said.

The death toll from the attack, which targeted a tea shop near heavily guarded government institutions on Friday evening, was significantly higher than the four previously reported.

"On the evening of July 2, a suicide bomber wearing a vest detonated the device near the Juba Hotel, killing at least 10 people with dozens injured," the ministry of information, culture and tourism said in a statement on Saturday.

"The attack occurred during a busy hour where the victims were enjoying a local tea shop," it added, saying the "malicious" attack was by Al Shabab.

The Al Qaeda-linked group swiftly claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement saying "15 elements from the governmental intelligence, police, and militia were killed and 22 others were wounded."

READ MORE: Somalia: Many dead in minibus explosion caused by landmine

Attack close to intelligence agency

Sources told AFP that the attack took place just a few hundreds metres from the headquarters of the Somali Intelligence Agency at around 5:30 pm (1430 GMT) on Friday.

"The cafe was crowded when the blast occurred," said witness Abdikarim Ali.

The cafe is often frequented by members of the Somali security forces, sources said.

Al Shabab, which is fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu, regularly attacks government and civilian targets in Mogadishu.

The group controlled the capital until 2011 when it was pushed out by African Union troops, but still holds territory in the countryside.

READ MORE: Al Shabaab has created a perfect storm in Somalia

Source: AFP