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Two Gunmen Killed but Hostages Remain in Somalia Restaurant Siege

Gunmen posing as military forces held dozens of people hostage after a car bomb went off outside of a popular restaurant in Somalia’s capital. Two of the gunmen were shot dead and 10 hostages were rescued but five other attackers were thought to remain inside, cutting off electricity. Most of the victims were young men who were entering the Pizza House when the vehicle exploded. The militant group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility.
The Somalia-based al-Shabaab often targets high-profile areas of Mogadishu, including hotels, military checkpoints and areas near the presidential palace. It has vowed to step up attacks after the recently elected government launched a new military offensive against it. Al-Shabaab last year became the deadliest Islamic extremist group in Africa, with more than 4,200 people killed in 2016, according to the Washington-based Africa Center for Strategic Studies.
The extremist group also faces a new military push from the US, including airstrikes, against it. On Sunday, the US military in Africa said it carried out an airstrike in southern Somalia that killed eight Islamic extremists at a rebel command and logistics camp. The Somali president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, confirmed the airstrike and said such attacks would disrupt the group’s ability to conduct new attacks. Also on Wednesday, the UN security council unanimously adopted a resolution extending the organization’s political mission in the country, which is trying to rebuild after more than two decades as a failed state, until 31 March 2018. The resolution recognized that “this is a critical moment for Somalia”.

Source: Deutsche Welle, The Guardian

Logo of Al-Shabaab
By: Intellectual property owned by Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahideen, Fair Use (Educational Article, used at low resolution)

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