Somali parliament blast: At least one person killed in Mogadishu car bomb attack

Al Shabaab Islamist militants have claimed responsibility for the attack

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The Independent Online

At least two people have been killed after a car bomb exploded and shots were heard near the Somali parliament building in Mogadishu.

Al Shabaab Islamist militants have claimed responsibility for the attack.

"A car bomb occurred near the parliament house but we are all safe," Dahir Amin Jesow, a legislator in the house, told Reuters, referring to lawmakers inside the building.

"I could see a dead soldier and three other injured soldiers outside parliament's compound which is safe," he said.

Government forces blocked all roads leading into the area and the sound of wailing ambulances could be heard.

"We were shaken by a huge blast near the parliament house. We were immediately surrounded by forces and we cannot go out of houses," Farah Sabdow, a resident in the area, told Reuters.

Al Shabaab militants, who threatened to step up attacks during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan later claimed responsibility for the attack.

"This is our second attack against the parliament building and we shall continue it," said Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab's spokesman for military operations.

Police said soldiers guarding the parliament building had prevented it from reaching its target.

"The suicide car bomb was targeting the parliament entrance but it was fired on from all sides as it approached the main gate," said Nur Ahmed, a colonel in the police service.