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People look at debris at the site of a blast in Mogadishu, Somalia, September 2, 2018 in this still image obtained from a social media video. MUNASAR MOHAMED/via REUTERS

(reuters_tickers)

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - A suicide car bomb struck a local government office in Mogadishu on Sunday, police said, destroying the building and a school opposite.

Ambulances took casualties to hospitals as people searched through the rubble for survivors, a Reuters witness said. The blast also blew off the roof of a mosque and damaged houses nearby.

"A suicide car bomb (rammed) into the district office of Hawlwadag in Mogadishu. It is too early to know casualties," Abdullahi Hussein, a police officer, told Reuters.

A Reuters journalist on the scene saw a human hand and blood stains in the rubble.

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

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

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Reuters