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Deadly blast hits Mogadishu eatery

Car bomb outside restaurant frequented by officials kills two people and leaves two wounded in Somali capital.
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2013 07:06
No group immediately claimed responsibility for Saturday's blast in the popular Lido beachfront area [AFP]

A car bomb detonated by remote control has killed two people and wounded two others in Somalia's capital, according to police sources.

Mohamed Hassan, a local police officer, said Saturday's explosion took place in the parking area of a popular beachfront restaurant in the Lido area of Mogadishu frequented by Somali officials and city residents.

The restaurant called Lido Seafood was opened last year following the removal of al-Qaeda-linked fighters from Mogadishu.

Hassan said the blast also destroyed cars.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, but al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab fighters have launched a series of guerrilla-style attacks in Mogadishu in recent months.

The fighters have vowed to topple newly elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who took office in September after being chosen by the country's new parliament.

But the once powerful al-Shabab are on the back foot inside Somalia, having fled a string of key towns ahead of a 17,000-strong African Union (AU) force, which is also fighting alongside Somali soldiers.

Ethiopian troops are also battling al-Shabab fighters in the southwest of Somalia.

On Thursday, AU troops and government forces seized the towns of Janalle, Aw Dhigle and Barire, some 80km southwest of the capital Mogadishu, the latest Shebab bases to fall.

However, the al-Shabab remain a potent threat, still controlling rural areas as well as carrying out guerrilla attacks in areas apparently under government control.

Some, retreating before AU-led assaults, have relocated to the northern Golis mountains in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region.

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Source:
Agencies
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