Somali car bomb explodes outside Mogadishu restaurant

Somali security officers are seen in front of the Central Hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia, 20 February 2015 Image copyright EPA
Image caption The restaurant is near the Central Hotel, which has been targeted by al-Shabab in the past

A car bomb has exploded outside a popular restaurant in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

The BBC's Moalimu Mohammed in Mogadishu says 11 people have been confirmed dead in the explosion and others have been seriously injured.

Banooda restaurant is in front of the Central Hotel, which is often frequented by politicians.

Militants from the al-Shabab Islamist group often attack hotels, restaurants and government complexes in the city.

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"A vehicle loaded with explosives was parked outside the restaurant," police officer Ahmed Warhere told the AFP news agency.

Our reporter says ambulances rushed to the scene, where there is blood and wreckage everywhere, to help the injured.

At least 20 people, including senior officials, were killed in an al-Shabab attack on the Central Hotel in February.

The al-Qaeda-linked insurgents oppose the UN-backed administration and want African Union forces to leave Somalia.

On Monday, al-Shabab said it was behind the bombing of a UN vehicle in Garowe, the main city in the north-eastern Puntland region, that killed seven people.

Al-Shabab has been pushed out of the main towns it once controlled but still controls rural areas of the south.

Earlier this month, Somalia placed a bounty on the top 11 leaders of the group.

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