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Deadly suicide bomb attack hits restaurant in Somalia

A suicide bomber has killed several people in a restaurant north of the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Al-Shebab rebels have reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.

Local officials said the attack took place in the town of Beledweyne in central Somalia, about 339 kilometers (211 miles) from Mogadishu near the Ethiopian border.

They said a suicide bomber detonated explosives strapped to his chest in a restaurant said to be popular with Ethiopian and Somali troops, killing at least a dozen people and wounding more than 10 others.

Beledweyne is under the control of the central government, and African Union peacekeepers from Djibouti are stationed there.

The Reuters news agency has reported that the Islamist militant group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack. The group is seeking political control of Somalia, and has said it wants all foreign peacekeepers to leave the country.

Ethiopian troops are among the foreign forces who have been fighting Islamist militants in neighboring Somalia for several years. In 2011, Ethiopia sent troops across the border especially to combat al-Shabab militants, who are allied with the terrorist organization al-Qaeda.

Al-Shabab has staged numerous attacks in East African countries such as Kenya and Uganda, which have both also sent peacekeepers to Somalia. Last month, the group claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on a shopping mall in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, in which scores of people were killed in a four-day siege.

tj/rc (AP, Reuters)