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Al-Shabaab claims suicide car bomb attack in Somali capital

(Xinhua)

08:38, May 06, 2013

MOGADISHU, May 5 (Xinhua) -- The Al-Qaida linked Somali radical group of Al-Shabaab on Sunday claimed responsibility for a suicide car bomb assault, which killed 10 people and injured several others.

The attack targeted a convoy carrying foreign officials, who survived the explosion, according to official sources.

The death toll from the blast at the busy main K4 intersection in the capital Mogadishu has risen to 10 and several others, mostly civilians, sustained injures.

A pro-Al-Shabaab website quoted its commanders as saying the extremist group's fighters were behind the deadly attack, vowing to continue such attacks.

State media say the targeted convoy of Somali government vehicles carrying Qatari officials and that none of the Qataris or government official was hurt in the blast.

The interior minister's vehicle was in the convoy when the explosives were detonated, but the official was not in the car. "The criminal drove the car towards the government vehicles and it exploded after it hit one of them," police officer Mohamoud Gurey told Xinhua, disclosing bystanders were among the dead.

The area was cordoned off by security forces and ambulances rushed to the scene to take the injured to nearby hospitals.

"We heard loud explosion from the K4 junction and when we came out we saw smoke coming out of burning vehicles and people lying in the street and pavement, some dead and some injured. It was terrible scene," resident Yahya Ali told Xinhua.

The attack came four days after a security lockdown at the main streets near government installations, which was just lifted on Saturday.

Somali government officials said the security measure was aimed at preventing "terrorist attacks" that may harm people and their property.

Al-Shabaab is held responsible for a series of similar attacks against the Somali government and African Union peacekeeping forces in Somalia (AMISOM).

Last month, Al-Shabaab fighters raided the Mogadishu court building and the regional administration office, killing at least 20 people including nine attackers.

Al-Shabaab has been attempting bomb attacks in Mogadishu in a bid to demonstrate its presence after losing ground to AMISOM in August 2011.

The attacks are considered nowhere to hamper the momentum to regain law and order in the city and elsewhere in a country suffering a long-standing nightmare.

On May 7, an international conference will be held in London to support Somalia in its process of restoring stability and peace after decades of conflict.

The Horn of Africa country has witnessed instability without a strong central government since 1991 after the overthrow of the late Somali leader, Mohamed Siyad Barre.

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