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Al Shabaab car bomb kills at least six in central Mogadishu

Civilians look at the remain of a rickshaw destroyed at the site of a blast in the district office of Hawlwadag in Mogadishu, Somalia, September 2, 2018. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

(reuters_tickers)

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - At least six people were killed when a suicide car bomb struck a local government office in central Mogadishu on Sunday, destroying the building and a Quranic school opposite.

Islamist militant group Al Shabaab said it was behind the attack on Hawlwadag district office, which also blew off the roof of a mosque and damaged houses nearby.

At least six people had been killed, including soldiers, civilians and the suicide bomber, and a dozen injured, according to police officer Mohamed Hussein.

The school was open but at the time of the blast most children were away from the building on a break.

Earlier the director of the Amin ambulance service told Reuters that at least 14 people had been injured, including 6 children.

A Reuters journalist on the scene saw a human hand and blood stains in the rubble as people searched for survivors.

Abdiasis Abu Musab, Al Shabaab’s military operations spokesman, said the group had carried out the attack.

"We are behind the suicide attack. We targeted the district office in which there was a meeting. We killed 10 people so far, we shall give details later."

Somalia has been wracked by lawlessness and violence since 1991. Islamist group al Shabaab is fighting to dislodge a Western-backed government protected by African Union-mandated peacekeepers.

(The story was refiled to remove an extraneous word in paragraph 5)

(Reporting by Abdi Sheikh and Feisal Omar; Writing by Omar Mohammed; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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