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MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Somalia's al Shabaab gunmen shot and killed a senior national intelligence officer in front of his own house in the capital Mogadishu on Thursday, police and militants said, in the latest such incident by the group.

The security officer, who was involved in conducting security operations against the group, was sitting in front of his house without his body guards when armed militants shot him to death, police officer Ibrahim Nur said.

Al Shabaab, which is waging an increasingly deadly campaign of bombings despite losing most of its territory to African Union peacekeepers supporting the Somali government, claimed responsibility.

"We are behind the killing of the national security general called Mohamud Haji Ali," Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operation spokesman, told Reuters on Thursday.

Nur confirmed that and said the gunmen escaped.

"Police and security forces reached the scene later to investigate and pursue the militants. It is difficult to prevent death- the officer had no guards with him when he was killed." Nur told Reuters.

Early this month, al Shabaab said it was also behind a car bomb attack targeting senior officials leaving a military base in Mogadishu that killed at least 15 people.

(Reporting by Feisal Omar and Abdi Sheikh; Editing by George Obulutsa and Tom Heneghan)

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