Two explosions in the center of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu have killed at least eight people and wounded 16, according to an Associated Press source.
One of the explosions, the most casualties and damages caused, was carried out with a booby-trapped car parked near the seat of the national parliament, according to the same source.
The attack was claimed by the al-Shabab extremist group, linked to al-Qaida and the author of frequent bomb attacks in the Somali capital.
The group said today’s explosions were aimed at attacking the first line of checkpoints protecting the airport and the presidential palace.
US military forces in the region have intensified bombing of al-Shabab positions in the past two years in an effort to reduce extremist-controlled territory in central and southern Somalia and hamper the movement of combatants.
In a report to the UN Security Council in May, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres pointed out that the increase in security operations has limited the operational capacity and freedom of movement of the United Nations -Shabab, but at the same time led to a “movement of the group to urban centers, especially Mogadishu, where their forces run a lower risk of being subjected to aerial bombardments.”
Guterres also said that Somalia is making progress in building a viable and operational state after three decades of civil war, extremist attacks and famine, but continues to face challenges in terms of political instability and corruption.
The African Union (AU) multinational force in Somalia is in the process of phasing out the country’s troops and transferring security responsibilities to Somali government forces.