At least seven people have been killed in a massive car bomb blast in Somalia’s capital, the fourth deadly attack in the past few weeks.
The explosion occurred at lunchtime on Wednesday at a restaurant near the ministries of internal security and youth.
“Seven people, most of them in the coffee shop, were killed in the blast. We carried wounded bodies into the hospital,” police officer Hussein Ahmed told Al Jazeera, adding that at least eight others were wounded.
No group claimed responsibility for the explosion. However, the al-Qaeda-linked group al-Shabab often carries out such attacks.
Police pulled the bloodied body of a man from the rubble and said there may be more. Soldiers pushed back a surging crowd and fired in the air to disperse people.
“Those blood-suckers give no care to human lives whether they are civilians or others,” said police Captain Mohamed Hussein, who blamed al-Shabab for the attack. He stood near the bloodied body of a man and shattered glass. The blast largely destroyed the restaurant.
Al-Shabab was forced out of the capital and other major urban areas in Somalia by national and African Union multinational forces, but it continues to carry out deadly bombings and attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere. Targets have included hotels, military checkpoints, and the presidential palace.
In March, 10 people were killed and scores wounded in three separate car bombings.
Al-Shabab has denounced new Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed as an “apostate” and warned Somalis against supporting him. The armed group was kicked out of Mogadishu under Mohamed’s brief term as prime minister in 2010-2011.
Mohamed, who was elected in February, has vowed to make security a priority in the long-chaotic nation, where the fragile central government is trying to extend its control beyond selected areas including the capital.
Abdirizak Mohamud Tuuryare contributed to this report from Mogadishu