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Somali capital Mogadishu rocked by huge blast

A car bomb in the Somali capital Mogadishu has killed at least five people and wounded dozens. Al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militant group claimed responsibility for the Sunday attack. The death toll is expected to rise.

Reuters news agency cited police sources as saying the Sunday blast was caused by a car bomb.

At least five people were killed and 13 were injured as a result of the bombing near a police station along the busy Maka Almukarramah road in the Somali capital..

The blast occurred when Somali soldiers were searching cars at a nearby intersection.

Mohamed Hussein, a police official, said it could be a suicide bombing.

"So far we know civilians died and 20 others were injured. They were mostly pedestrians while others were shopping," Hussein said. "The death toll may rise. Most of the injuries are very serious." 

Al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militant group claimed responsibility for the attack on pro-militant radio station Andalus. 

Relative calm had prevailed for a month in Mogadishu prior to Sunday's bombing.

- Several dead in Somalia after suicide bomber targets senior army officials

- Somalia on the brink of humanitarian crisis

Al-Shabab campaign

Al-Shabab was the deadliest Islamic extremist group in Africa last year, killing more than 4,200 people, according to the Washington-based Africa Center for Strategic Studies.

The group often attacks the high-profile areas of Mogadishu, including hotels, military checkpoints and areas near the presidential palace.

Al-Shabab vowed to step up attacks after the recently elected government launched a new military offensive against it. US President Donald Trump also approved expanded operations, including airstrikes, against al-Shabab. Last month, the US military reported that it killed eight Islamist extremists in an airstrike on a rebel command and logistics camp in the country's south.

shs/rc (Reuters, AP)

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