Mogadishu, Somalia — A breaking story out of the East African war-torn country of Somalia is indicating that a massive explosion followed by heavy gunfire is being reported near a popular restaurant “Pizza House” in the Hodan district of the capital city of Mogadishu. Local officials are reporting that a vehicle borne improvised explosive device, or VBIED detonated outside the restaurant causing what was described as a “huge inferno.”
The perpetrators of this attack, which are suspected to be members of the Islamic terror group Harakat al-Shabaab, then stormed the establishment and began firing into stunned civilians who were sitting down for iftar, which is a traditional meal eaten after sunset during the holy month of Ramadan.
— Live From Mogadishu (@Daudoo) June 14, 2017
Reports of an ongoing gun battle raging within the vicinity of the restaurant are pouring in as eight people are already feared dead with scores more wounded. SOFREP was able to speak with former Former British Army Reconnaissance operator and freelance journalist “Jay” who is in Mogadishu. Jay had this to say:
At around 19:50 (7;50) local time, a blast was heard, just after that small arms for a minutes within a couple of minutes maybe ten at the most security forces on scene, this is due to heightened presence of Ramadan there are more checkpoints around the city.” Jay who was so close to the blast he said that he was “close enough it rocked my windows and doors, mate. I think there was someone high up in the [Somali] government near the place.”
That may be correct as a local news radio station, Radio Dalsan, indicated that the Somali Deputy Speaker of the Senate, Senator Abshir Axmad was near the blast at another restaurant.
The situation is currently fluid as Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) is indicating that there is now an ongoing hostage situation within the Pizza House. Which can only mean that the U.S. Special Forces trained Danab, or “Lightning” Group, that NISA maintains and who are currently apart of the increased security posture of the capital city are being deployed to deal with these suspected al-Shabaab terrorists as the Danab Group’s specialty is direct action hostage rescue among other counter-terror operations.
Initial reports from security officials on the scene indicate that as many as nine bodies are strewn across the ground, apparent victims of the car-bombing just prior to the gunmen storming the pizza parlor. The suspects are still believed to be holed up inside with hostages. No groups to include al-Shabaab have claimed responsibility as of yet.
This is an ongoing situation and SOFREP will update as reports come in.
Feature image courtesy of: CGNTA Africa