An Al Shabaab suicide attack killed at least 11 and injured dozens more today in the Somali capital of Mogadishu.
Police spokesman Abdullahi Barise said the attacker rammed his truck into a busy roadside café near the Muna Hotel, Reuters reported.
"Some people say the death toll is 15, but I have confirmed 11 civilians dead, a legislator was also slightly injured. It was a 4x4 suicide car bomb," he said.
The Somali government attempted to drive Al Shabaab – which has links to Al Qaeda – from the capital city, but the extremist group still uses roadside bombs and suicide attacks.
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Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, who speaks for Al Shabaab's military operations, claimed immediate responsibility for the violence.
"We were behind the explosion at the Muna Hotel. We targeted legislators and government officials," he said, according to Reuters.
The blast injured two members of parliament, the Associated Press said. Dahir Iro told the AP two of his colleagues in parliament were injured.
It was a “cowardly and heartless attack,” Mohamud Abdullahi Wehelie, another Somali MP, told the AP.
Al Shabaab attacked the hotel two years ago. Today’s violence comes around visits from two high-ranking western officials, BBC said.
Alexander Rondos, the European Union's new special envoy to the Horn of Africa, visited the city today, and British Foreign Secretary William Hague visited last week. Hague’s visit was the first by a British foreign secretary in 20 years.
A conference on Feb. 23 in London will focus on ending violence in Somalia, a nation wracked by violence and instability since 1991. The transitional government’s term ends in August.
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