Somalia: Eight killed in suicide attack near presidential palace

Security officers patrol the site of the car bomb suicide attack near the presidential palace on Saturday [AFP]

A suicide car bomb blast has killed at least eight people at a security checkpoint in the Somali capital near the presidential palace in an attack on Saturday claimed by the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group.

The checkpoint falls on the route to the airport in the capital, Mogadishu, used by Somalia’s president and prime minister.

A witness told AFP that the bomb was detonated when police stopped the driver to carry out a security check.

“They normally stop to check and clear vehicles before they can pass by the checkpoint. This car was stopped by the security guards and it went off while there were several other cars and people passing by the nearby road. I saw wounded and dead people being carried,” Mohamed Hassan told the news agency.

Police spokesman Abdifatah Aden Hassan told reporters at the scene the number of casualties could be higher as some of the dead and wounded were taken away by relatives after the attack targeting a convoy going into the palace.

“Al-Shabab is behind the blast. They killed eight people including a soldier and a mother and two children. Al-Shabab massacres civilians,” he said.

Al-Shabab, which wants to overthrow the government and impose its interpretation of Islamic law, frequently carries out such bombings.

“We have confirmed that eight people, most of them civilians, died and seven others wounded in the car bomb blast,” district police chief Mucawiye Ahmed Mudey said.

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