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Seventeen people are reportedly dead following an explosion near a restaurant in Somalia

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An ambulance driver said his service has carried 17 bodies in the ongoing attack at a restaurant in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, according to the Associated Press. Khalif Dahir with the Amin Ambulance service added that they have tended to an additional 26 wounded.

The Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack, which began when a car bomb exploded at the restaurant's gate. Access to the restaurant remains cut off because of ongoing fighting between Somali forces and extremists holed up inside.

Earlier, police confirmed that the death toll had risen to at least 14, including foreigners. Capt. Mohamed Hussein said the dead include a Syrian man and two of the attackers, who were subdued by security forces. An unknown number of hostages remain in the popular Pizza House restaurant. 

Hussein added that the attackers have intensified chaos by cutting off the electricity--compromising visibility.  

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