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The Latest: US condemns deadly attack on Somalia restaurant

Posted June 15

— The Latest on deadly attack on restaurant in Somalia's capital (all times local):

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5:05 p.m.

The United States is condemning the overnight attack on a popular restaurant in Somalia's capital that police say left at least 31 people dead.

A statement Thursday by the U.S. mission to Somalia says many of the victims had been breaking their daily Ramadan fast when the attack began Wednesday night.

The statement says the Muslim holy month of Ramadan "is a time of spiritual reflection and increased piety, which makes the timing of this attack all the more atrocious."

The statement calls the attack by extremist group al-Shabab "barbaric."

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4:15 p.m.

Somalia's president has condemned the overnight siege of a popular restaurant in the capital that police say killed at least 31 people. The extremist group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility.

A Somali government statement says President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed called the victims "martyrs" and noted that the attack came during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The president notes that the attackers targeted a place frequented by teens and young adults.

Mohamed has repeatedly vowed to defeat al-Shabab within two years, but security remains a major challenge in the long-chaotic country.

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2:40 p.m.

Police say the death toll in an overnight attack by al-Shabab extremists on a popular restaurant in Somalia's capital has risen to 31.

Capt. Mohamed Hussein says many of the victims were killed at point-blank range after the attackers hunted them down.

Police say nearly 40 people were wounded in the assault that began when a car bomb exploded outside the Pizza House restaurant in Mogadishu.

Security forces ended the siege Thursday morning after the extremist snipers fired on them. Hussein says all five attackers were killed.

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7:55 a.m.

Fighting continued through the night as Somalia's al-Shabab Islamic extremists fought off heavily armed soldiers in a bloody siege at a popular Mogadishu restaurant.

Extremist snipers fired on security troops who surrounded the restaurant building and used big guns mounted on the backs of vehicles to neutralize militants. Soldiers entered the ground floor while the insurgent attackers held positions upstairs.

Senior Somali police office Capt. Mohamed Hussein said at dawn Thursday that at least one attacker was firing on troops from inside the restaurant.

The roofs were blown off the Pizza House restaurant and nearby buildings from the powerful blasts.

High casualties are feared in the attack on the busy restaurant. Police said the bodies of five girls thought to have been killed by militants were found in the restaurant.

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