Somali news agency SONA reported that security forces foiled an armed attack they accused al-Shabaab of carrying out at the entrance to a restaurant at the Pearl Hotel overlooking Lido Beach, north of Mogadishu.

"Security forces succeeded in killing militia members who carried out a terrorist attack on the Pearl Hotel on Mogadishu's Lido beach," state television channel SNTV said, adding that the forces "succeeded in rescuing a large number of civilians."

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it targeted a place frequented by authorities, AFP reported.

On Friday evening, two explosions occurred at the entrance to the restaurant overlooking the Lido coast north of the Somali capital.

The blasts were followed by violent clashes between restaurant guards and armed elements who stormed the scene, according to witnesses.

The attack wounded at least seven people, Reuters reported.

The Somali government has been waging war for years against al-Shabaab, a militant group founded in early 2004 and claimed several bombings inside the country.