15 die after blasts hit Somalia restaurant

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Somali militants attacked a restaurant near Mogadishu’s seat of government for the second time in less than a year Saturday, detonating two large blasts that killed at least 15 people and wounded nearly two dozen, an official said.

The force of the blasts appeared to tear much of the roof off the restaurant, which is frequented by government workers. Captain Ali Hussein, a senior police official, put the death toll at 15 and said at least 20 had been wounded. Early reports indicated that a car bomb blast and a suicide bomber attacked The Village eatery.

An Associated Press reporter at the scene said wounded people screaming in pain were being taken away by ambulance. Soldiers also fired in the air, apparently in an attempt to restore order. Dead bodies badly burned by the flames could be seen by frightened onlookers who had gathered.

Militants, most likely from the group Al-Shabab, attacked The Village last November. That attack, though, was less severe; two suicide bombers attacked but the blast killed only one guard. Guards were reported to have opened fire on the attackers, which may have kept the death toll down.

African union forces pushed the Al-Qaeda-affiliated group Al-Shabab out of Mogadishu in August 2011, but the rebels continue to carry out suicide attacks in the capital.

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