Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the combined attack on Mogadishu restaurants that claimed at least 18 lives on Wednesday evening.
Al-Andalus, a broadcaster run by the jihadist group, made the announcement soon after the twin attacks on Pizza House and Posh Treats.
The attack began when a car packed with explosives was rammed against the entrance to the popular Pizza House before several gunmen forced their way in while firing shots.
It happened as customers were having the Iftar, meals to break their day-long fast in the holy month of Ramadhan.
Adult Muslims refrain from partaking food and drinks from dawn to dusk during Ramadhan.
A special anti-terrorist security unit, the Gashaan, arrived at the scene soon after and countered the attackers, whose number was not clear.
Dozens of people were evacuated from Pizza House and Posh Treats restaurants.
Posh Treats suffered extensive damage and loss of lives, but it was Pizza House that bore the brunt of the twin attacks.
Police officers from Hodon District, where the attack took place, said the Gashaan exchanged fire with the Al-Shabaab fighters inside Pizza House for several hours till 6:30am on Thursday.
The scene of the attack was later cordoned off by security forces, with only ambulances allowed entry to evacuate the wounded people and remove dead bodies.
Internal Security ministry spokesman Mohamed Ahmed told the media on Thursday that 18 civilians and four of armed assailants died.
Since the start of Ramadhan, the Somali government has been keeping a tight security campaign involving more than 5,000 soldiers, police and other agents in Mogadishu.
“Tonight’s assault indicates that the government’s promised stabilisation campaign has failed,” boasted the al-Andalus Radio.
- Volunteers carry a stretcher with a body bag from the site of an attack at the Pizza House restaurant in Mogadishu on June 15, 2017.