Car bomb from al-Shabab kills 5 in Somali capital
MOGADISHU, Somalia — At least five people were killed and several wounded when a car bomb planted by Islamist militant group al-Shabab exploded near restaurants on a busy street in the Somali capital Wednesday.
Al-Shabab, which wants to topple the government it says is a puppet of Western powers, frequently has launched bomb and gun attacks in Mogadishu and promised more attacks after losing control of a major coastal stronghold this month.
“We heard a huge blast followed by gunfire,” said Ahmed Idris, who was near the Village Market restaurant close to the blast. A tea shop and a pharmacy bore the brunt of the damage.
Idris said several mortar shells landed in the area just before the blast.
Col. Ahmed Abdullahi, a senior police officer, said five civilians were killed, and seven wounded people were taken to a hospital.
Sheik Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabab’s military-operations spokesman, said: “We were behind the blast at the tea shop. We targeted and killed many of the security officers and presidential palace workers who sit there.”
The presidential palace is about a half-mile from the site of the blast.
Al-Shabab also claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack that killed at least seven people at the Oromo restaurant. Musab said it was “because … workers of the Ethiopian Embassy sat there.”
Ethiopian troops are part of an African Union mission fighting al-Shabab in Somalia.