Al-Shabaab claim responsibility as 12 killed after suicide bomber detonates explosives inside restaurant in Somali city of Beledweyne


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The Independent Online

At least 13 people have died after a suicide bomber detonated explosives inside a restaurant in a city north of the capital of Somalia.

Twelve people plus the bomber died in the blast in the city of Beledweyne, about 200 miles north of Mogadishu. At least 10 other people were injured.

Many of those killed or wounded were civilians, a police officer said, although it was possible some of the victims were government soldiers.

Somali Islamist militant group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for attack at qa restaurant popular with Ethiopian and Somali troops.

"Our main target was Ethiopian and Djibouti troops who invaded our country. They were sitting there,' Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, Al-Shabaab's military operation spokesman said.

He claimed the death toll from the attack was 25, including troops from Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia.

Beledweyne is under the control of the central government and African Union peacekeepers from Djibouti are stationed there.

Al-Qai'da-linked al-Shabab militants frequently stage such attacks on seats of power as well as restaurants and other public places that are popular with foreigners and government soldiers.

Al-Shabaab, which seeks political control of Somalia, has said it wants all foreign peacekeepers to leave the country. This is cited as the reason it has staged attacks in east African countries such as Kenya and Uganda, which have sent peacekeepers to support Somalia's central government.

The al-Shabaab militants claimed responsibility for a deadly attack last month on a mall in Kenya's capital, Nairobi.

Al-Shabaab said the September 21 attack, in which scores were killed during a four-day siege of the Westgate shopping mall, was in retaliation for Kenya sending troops into Somalia to tackle the extremists.