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18 Dead After Terror Attack on Turkish Restaurant in Burkina Faso

Gunmen opened fire on patrons sitting on the patio at Aziz Istanbul

Anadolu Agency / Getty

Tragedy struck in the West African nation of Burkina Faso on Sunday evening as a terror attack at a restaurant ended in 18 deaths. The New York Times reports gunmen on motorcycles stormed a cafe called Aziz Istanbul around 9 p.m., initially opening fire on patrons seated on an outdoor patio.

The cafe, a popular destination for locals and foreigners alike in the capital city of Ouagadougou, is located just a couple blocks from a hotel and restaurant where a similar attack carried out in January 2016 left 25 people dead. The same Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group is thought to be behind both instances.

Among the restaurant’s patrons was a family celebrating a nine-year-old boy’s birthday, the Times reports; the boy has been hospitalized after being shot.

Aziz Istanbul serves Turkish food and, based on its Facebook page, is also a bakery specializing in special occasion cakes: Photos depict cakes designed to look like soccer balls and Chanel bags, with inscriptions like “Joyeux Anniversaire.” (Colonized by France in the late 1800s before gaining independence in 1960, the nation’s official language is French.)

Last year a terror attack on a restaurant in Bangladesh killed 28 people; in November 2015, terrorists in Paris targeted cafes and a concert venue in the attacks that killed 130 people. “Targeting civilians in more cosmopolitan locations generates far more media coverage than attacking U.N. peacekeepers,” Sean Smith, a senior Africa analyst at global risk consultancy firm Verisk Maplecroft, tells the Times.

Gunmen Kill 18 at Restaurant in Burkina Faso [New York Times]