At least five people died after a powerful car bomb struck a busy street close to the office of Mogadishu’s mayor Monday, security officials and witnesses confirm.
Another 10 people were wounded in the attack on Ufficio governo, office of the city mayor, which caused a piercingly loud explosion.
Security forces cordoned off the area and firefighters and ambulances were seen rushing to the area. Gunshots were reportedly heard following the explosion.
It is not yet clear whether the governor of Mogadishu, Yusuf Jimale, was in the office during the attack.
‘’The explosion took place in the backyard where a car full of explosives hidden in a parking lot went off,’’ said a security official.
The explosion occurred hours after a former al-Shabaab journalist, Hassan Hanafi, was executed in the capital by a firing squad following a death sentence ruling last month. He was found guilty for killing several journalists.
Somali militant group al-Shabaab claimed the responsibility of the attack through their online sites, saying that they killed several police officers.
The group routinely exaggerates the death toll in attacks on government and International aid agencies targets.
Though al-Shabaab was pushed out of key towns in South and Central Somalia, the group has been able to hit high-profile targets in Mogadishu’s heavily fortified areas, including the national courts, the UN compound, the Turkish embassy, and popular gathering places.