At least 18 killed in restaurant attack in Somalia's Mogadishu

The Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab often targets high-profile areas of Mogadishu. Security officials said a suicide attacker had rammed an explosive-laden auto into the hotel's entrance before gunmen stormed the restaurant. Troops entered the ground floor while the insurgent snipers held positions upstairs.

However, five other attackers are thought to still be inside the restaurant with the electricity cut off, complicating attempts by the security forces to end the siege.

Survivors of the attack were led by soldiers from the Pizza House restaurant building.

The gunmen spent the night roaming the restaurant killing those they found trapped before they were eventually killed by the security forces.

A auto driven by a suicide bomber rammed into the Posh Hotel in south Mogadishu on Wednesday evening before gunmen rushed into Pizza House, an adjacent restaurant, and took 20 people hostage.

At least nine people were killed in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Wednesday when a suicide bomber rammed a vehicle into a hotel, police and witnesses said, in an attack claimed by militant Islamist group al Shabaab, Reuters reported.

According to Aamin Ambulance services in Mogadishu, they had taken 26 injured people to the hospital.

The militants took hostages in the restaurant.

Al-Shabaab, the Islamist militant group, claimed responsibility for the attack.

It has escalated its campaign and promised more attacks in the face of renewed military operations by the Somali government and United States.

The U.S. has been conducting military operations and drone strikes against al-Shabaab since 2007.

The attack began Wednesday evening a auto bomb exploded at the gate to the restaurant and then gunmen posing as military forces stormed into the establishment.

  • Leroy Wright