Several killed as suicide car bomb explodes near Somali parliament

Several people were killed when a powerful suicide car bomb exploded near Somalia’s parliament in the capital Mogadishu on Saturday, police and witnesses said.

Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels claimed responsibility for the bombing, the latest in a surge of attacks in Mogadishu during Islam’s holy month of Ramadan.

“A car loaded with explosives was intercepted near the parliament and it went off. There are casualties but we don’t have details so far,” police official Mohamed Idle told AFP. He confirmed a suicide bomber was in the car.

Police and witnesses at the scene said as many as four were killed and many more wounded. Police spokesman Qasim Ahmed Roble said two policemen were among the dead.

The Shebab, who have carried out frequent attacks against the parliament and other centres of Somalia’s fragile, internationally-backed government, said they were responsible and vowed their attacks would continue.

“We killed more than a dozen so-called police members after sacrificial attack at the main entrance of parliament buildings,” Abdulaziz Abu Musab, military spokesman of the Shebab, told AFP.

“We want to tell them that the MPs are not safe anywhere in Mogadishu. By the grace of Allah more attacks will come and continue.”

Last month militants from the Shebab set off a car bomb at the gates of parliament and then stormed the building while MPs were meeting in an attack that left several dead.

At the time a Shebab spokesman described the parliament as a “military zone” and a legitimate target. On Thursday Shebab claimed responsibility for shooting dead a lawmaker and his bodyguard.

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