Mogadishu car bomb blast near presidential palace kills eight

A car bomb exploded at a checkpoint near Somalia’s presidential palace killing eight people, la polizia ha detto, as the al-Shabaab jihadist group claimed responsibility for the attack.

The bombing took place on Saturday within 1km (0.6 miglia) of Villa Somalia, the presidential palace in Mogadishu.

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

A witness said the car bomb was detonated when police stopped the driver for 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,” said Mohamed Hassan, a witness.

The al-Shabaab group claimed responsibility in a brief statement: “The Mujahedeen carried [out] a martyrdom operation targeting the main security checkpoint of the presidential palace. There were commanders and officials from the apostates who stayed [nel] the area when the attack occurred.”

The jihadist group controlled the capital until 2011 when it was pushed out by African Union troops, but it still holds territory in the countryside and launches frequent attacks against government and civilian targets in Mogadishu and elsewhere.

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