A suicide car bombing has killed at least 11 people and wounded 34 others, including two members of parliament, in the Somali capital, according to police sources.
The armed Islamist movement al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the Wednesday attack in a post on Twitter and said it had killed at least 17 people and wounded 37. The target of the strike was a restaurant apparently frequented by government employees, including high-ranking officials, that has been attacked before.
Al-Shabab said the 17 killed included “senior” members of parliament and intelligence officials, a claim the government denied.
“It is a restaurant where innocent people drink their tea, not a police station,” said police spokesman Abdullahi Barise. “I am sure al-Shabab are behind this attack.”
Hassan Ali, a police officer, told Reuters the attacker rammed his vehicle into a cafe by the Hotel Muna, which was stormed by al-Shabab fighters in August 2010 in an attack that killed more than 30 people.
Police and a spokesman for African Union troops in Somalia said initial reports showed the attacker first opened fire on people sitting near the hotel before detonating the vehicle.