At least 13 people have been killed in central Somalia on Saturday after a suicide bomber detonated explosives in a restaurant packed with local officials and politicians, Trend reports citing Al Jazeera.
The dead were mostly civilians and 20 other people were wounded in the town of Beledweyne, police spokesman Dini Roble Ahmed said. The blast caused “huge damage”, he added.
Witnesses said a large explosion tore through an open area of the Hassan Dhiif restaurant where people gathered under trees to eat lunch.
Police and government officials confirmed the restaurant attack was the result of a suicide bomber, but did not give the number of casualties.
The attack took place despite security being tightened in Beledweyne on the eve of a first round of voting for parliamentary seats in the constituency, 340km (210 miles) north of the capital Mogadishu.
Two deputy district commissioners were among the dead, police officer Mohamud Hassan said. “This was the deadliest attack I can recall in this town.”
Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, according to a report by SITE intelligence, which monitors armed groups online.