Mogadishu, Somalia (CNN)
A suicide car bomber and gunmen on Thursday attacked a beachside restaurant-hotel complex in the capital of Somalia, a country that’s no stranger to such deadly violence.
Col. Abdulkadir Mohammed, a senior police officer, said that a car rammed the gate of the Liido Seafood Restaurant overlooking a Mogadishu beach. After the blast, militants entered the adjoining hotel — at least some of them by boat — Mohammed and a Western source in Mogadishu told CNN.
At least five people died and two were wounded in the initial explosion, according to Mohammed. It was not immediately clear how many casualties there were inside the building, where the police colonel said security forces were exchanging heavy gunfire with holed-up militants late Thursday.
The Al-Shabaab terror group claimed responsibility for the attack on its mouthpiece radio station, reporting that its fighters armed with AK-47 rifles and wearing suicide vests had invaded the hotel.
In a Twitter post, Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke wrote, “I unreservedly condemn the barbaric attack @ Liido. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims.”