Al-Shabaab kills 15 in Somalia

Al-Shabaab kills 15 in Somalia

At least 15 people were killed by a suicide bomber from the al-Qaeda linked al-Shabaab, officials said yesterday, as details emerged of the heavy blast in Somalia’s war-torn capital Mogadishu.

“The horrible suicide blast, carried out by desperate and violent criminals, killed at least 15 innocent civilians, while 20 others are injured,” said Mogadishu mayor Mohamed Ahmed Nur. Nur said two lawmakers were also slightly injured in the blast at a small cafe where people had gathered to drink tea, in the heart of the government quarter and close to the presidential palace.

“They are cowards, attacking soft targets -- innocent people drinking tea,” Nur said of the attack. Extremist al-Shabaab fighters said their attack had targeted government officials at the nearby Mona hotel, a site infamous for an Aug. 2010 attack when al-Shabaab suicide gunmen killed 32 people including six lawmakers.

“The mujahedeen fighters carried out a bomb attack against Mona hotel, where the apostate lawmakers and security officials stay,” said group’s spokesman Sheikh Abdulaziz Abu Musab. “We will continue targeting them everywhere.”

Compiled from AFP and AP stories by the Daily News staff.