MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Four people were killed when a car laden with explosives blew up near the parliamentary building in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, a police official said Saturday.
The Somali terror group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the bombing. Capt. Mohammed Hussein said the car exploded at a checkpoint where it had been stopped by Somali troops. The dead were soldiers and refugees from an internal refugee camp near the check point, Hussien said.
He said Somali troops had ordered the driver of the car out the vehicle for a search when he detonated the explosives.
Seven children from the camp were wounded in the attack. Al-Shabab did not say the target of the car bomber but al-Shabab has launched a campaign of attacks against Somali parliamentarians. Somali legislators were holding a meeting at the parliament at the time of the attack.
Al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab said it was responsible for the killing of a Somali lawmaker and his bodyguard in a drive-by shooting earlier this week.
The targeting of members of parliament appears to be a new strategy for al-Shabab. The parliament is seen as an emerging pillar of democracy in the war-ravaged Horn of Africa nation.
Al-Shabab militants have previously carried out attacks against United Nations staff, government officials and African Union peacekeepers.
The terror group has launch attacks on neighbouring countries including Kenyan and Uganda which have sent troops to Somalia under the banner of the African Union, to bolster the country’s weak U.N.-backed government from al-Shabab’s insurgency.
Last month al-Shabab claimed responsibility for attack at the Kenyan coast that left 65 people dead.
Last year al-Shabab also killed 67 people in an attack an upscale mall in Nairobi, in the capital of neighboring Kenya which has sent troops into Somalia to battle al-Shabab.