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Deadly car bomb blast hits Mogadishu restaurant

Several government soldiers and civilians were killed in a bomb blast in a downtown area of Somalia's capital Mogadishu, officials say. Somalia has recently suffered multiple attacks by al-Shabab Islamists.

The car bomb exploded in front of a restaurant popular among

government officials

in Somalia's capital city, at lunchtime on Tuesday.

"At least 10 people died, including government soldiers and residents, and a dozen more were injured," said Colonel Osman Ibrahim, a senior police officer at the scene of the apparent suicide attack.

"The death toll is sure to rise," he added.

The attack targeted a popular restaurant in downtown Mogadishu, which is about one kilometer (0.6 mile) from the presidential palace.

"A policeman opened fire to stop the car bomb but it was all in vain. The policeman died and the car bomb rammed into the gate in the busy restaurant," Major Farah Hussein, another police officer at the scene of the attack, told Reuters, adding that that "drums of petrol are also burning."

However, other security sources claim that the vehicle was loaded with explosives and parked in front of the restaurant.

"We are still in a chaotic situation where ambulances are trying to collect the victims," security official Mohamed Hassan told dpa.

A string of attacks

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the deadly blast.

However, the news of the latest bombing comes just a day after at least nine people died in a

separate attack on a UN vehicle in Somalia's Puntland region

. The Islamist al-Shabab militia, which fights to topple the central government, claimed responsibility for the Monday attack. A provincial lawmaker was also killed Saturday.

UN envoy to Somalia Nick Kay, who was visiting colleagues in the northeastern town of Garowe, condemned "another atrocity" on Tuesday. saying that the "killing needs to stop".

dj/rc (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)

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