Mogadishu hit by suicide attack

2011-12-06 16:25

Mogadishu - A car bomb exploded metres from the Turkish embassy in the Somali capital on Tuesday, the latest in a wave of deadly attacks in the coastal city, and a health official said three people were killed.

The suicide attack piles yet more pressure on a Western-backed government that relies on African Union troops to prop it up and fight an insurgency by Islamist militants who control virtually all of the country outside the capital Mogadishu.

Ali Muse, co-ordinator of ambulance services in Mogadishu, said three civilians were killed and eight wounded by the blast.

Witnesses reported seeing smoke rising near an old cinema between the Turkish embassy and the Kilometre 4 (K4) junction, a busy intersection in Mogadishu's administrative district.

A traffic officer told Reuters there were numerous casualties. "I saw the bodies of two policemen and one civilian," Elmi said.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack.

The al-Shabaab rebel group, which has fought to topple the government since 2007, has intensified the frequency of suicide attacks in Mogadishu since its withdrawal from most of their bases in the capital in August.

A Reuters witness said human body parts could be seen around the ripped-apart car and security forces fired into the air to disperse the crowds.