Gunmen attack beachside restaurant in Somali capital, set off bombs

Al Shabaab have claimed responsibility for the attack in capital city Mogadishu

Gunmen attack beachside restaurant in Somali capital, set off bombs

An African Union (AU) soldier walks past the scene of destruction following a suicide car bomb attack in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia Sunday, July 26, 2015 (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

Gunmen have attacked a beachside restaurant in the Somali capital, setting off two car bombs and battling government soldiers.

The al Shabaab militant group said it was behind the attack on the Beach View Cafe on Mogadishu's Lido beach.

"We are inside and control the cafe," Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group's military spokesman, said.

"There are many casualties lying inside and outside the cafe."

The first car bomb went off around dusk, police said, before the second blast about an hour later.

Government forces went into the restaurant after the first explosion.

Major Farah Abdulle, a police officer at the scene, said: "We cannot know the number of casualties inside."