At least 18 killed in attack on restaurant in Burkina Faso

Suspected Islamic extremists opened fire at a Turkish restaurant late Sunday in Burkina Faso’s capital, killing at least 18 people in the second such attack on a restaurant popular with foreigners in the last two years.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the violence, which continued into the early hours of Monday with yet another heavy exchange of gunfire overheard by witnesses.

In addition to those killed, eight were wounded, Communications Minister Remi Dandjinou said. Two of the attackers were also killed, he said.

The victims were of several different nationalities, he said. At least one of the dead was French and another was Turkish, officials said.

Security forces arrived at the scene with armored vehicles after reports of shots fired near Aziz Istanbul, an upscale restaurant in Ouagadougou. The attack brought back painful memories of a January 2016 attack at a hotel that left 30 people dead.

Police Capt. Guy Ye said three or four assailants had arrived at Aziz Istanbul on motorcycles. They then began shooting randomly at the crowds dining Sunday evening, he said.

Burkina Faso, a landlocked nation in West Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world. It shares a northern border with Mali, which has long battled Islamic extremists.

The three attackers in the 2016 massacre were of foreign origin, according to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which claimed responsibility in the aftermath, along with the militant group known as Al Mourabitoun. But the terrorism threat in Burkina Faso is increasingly homegrown, experts say.

The northern border region is now home to a local preacher, Ibrahim Malam Dicko, who is radicalized and has claimed responsibility for recent deadly attacks against troops and civilians. His association, Ansarul Islam, is now considered a terrorist group by Burkina Faso's government.

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UPDATES:

Aug. 14, 12:40 a.m.: This article was updated to reflect that 18 people were killed and eight wounded, and that two alleged attackers were also killed.

Aug. 13, 9:50 p.m.: This article was updated with information from a police spokesman.

This article was originally posted Aug. 13 at 8:05 p.m.

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