The death toll has risen to at least 20 after a vehicle packed with explosives rammed into a popular restaurant in Somalia's capital on Friday night, with 30 wounded. The Somali National News Agency cited the Aamin ambulance service for the death toll. The Luul Yamani restaurant also was attacked last year. Some houses near the restaurant collapsed after the dinnertime blast at around 8pm local time, and authorities said that caused a number of deaths, per the AP. "Plumes of white smoke covered the city after the enormous explosion, followed by gunfire," a witness said, per CNN.
A rescue mission is said to be underway to recover people trapped in the rubble. A police spokesman blamed the attack on the local al-Shabab extremist group, which is linked to al-Qaeda and often targets Mogadishu with bombings. The militant group claimed responsibility via a statement on its affiliate websites. Security in Mogadishu has been especially heavy, with thousands of government forces deployed in anticipation of a planned demonstration on Saturday by an alliance of opposition leaders over the country's delayed national election. The demonstration was later postponed.
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