Two car bombs exploded late Thursday near cafés in the center of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, and gunfire ensued, killing at least 20 people and injuring many others, Somali Security Minister Abdirisak Omar Mohamed said Friday.
Mohamed said there were children and women among the victims of the explosion.
Gunmen burst into a café located near the Lido shore and opened fire just after the first explosion, the security source who requested anonymity, told Anadolu Agency.
The second explosion occurred at the entrance of the café, where intensive exchange of fire took place between attackers and café security, the same source added.
A large police presence was deployed at the scene to evacuate the customers.
The area where the explosions occurred is reportedly quite crowded generally and popular among government officials.
Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, Somali Prime Minister condemned the attack via Twitter: “I unreservedly condemn the barbaric attack… My thoughts and prayers are with the victims,” he said.
The newly appointed United Nations special envoy to Somalia Michael Keating condemned the attack in a tweet.
“I strongly condemn tonight's attack. Lido beach is symbol of Somalia life. My thoughts are with the people at this beach of Mogadishu.”
The Somali armed insurgent group, al-Shabaab, which is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. and has pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda, has claimed responsibility of the attack.
Last week, Al-Shabaab attacked Kenyan peacekeeping forces in Somalia.
After the attack on the Kenyan military base, al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab claimed to have killed more than 63 soldiers.