Al-Shabab kills 13 with car bombs outside U.N. office in Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia, July 26 (UPI) — Twin car bombs were detonated Tuesday outside the United Nations office at a Somali army checkpoint near the Mogadishu airport, killing 13 people and wounding five, police officials said.

The dead included nine security officials with the United Nations.

Abdulaziz Abu Musab, a spokesman for the militant group al-Shabab, told Al Jazeera the U.N. offices and African Union Mission in Somalia compound were the targets.

“Our Mujahideen targeted Halane which is base to the foreign forces occupying our Muslim country. We have killed dozens of them,” Muscab, a spokesman for the group, said.

The first bomb hit near the gates of the mission and another struck outside the United Nations office near the airport, police Cmdr. Bishar Abshir Gedi told reporters near one of the blast sites.

Michael Keating, the special representative of the U.N. secretary-general for Somalia, condemned the attack.

“Al-Shabab have once again carried out a ruthless attack that has claimed the lives of at least a dozen Somalis,” Keating said in a statement. “The overwhelming majority of Somalis have rejected such terrorist tactics and the use of violence to achieve political objectives. This horrific incident is a fresh example of the extremists’ desperate attempts to disrupt political progress. Neither the Somali authorities nor the United Nations will be deterred from moving forward.”

The African Union mission’s spokesman, Joe Kibet, said no personnel were injured.

AMISOM, the African Union peacekeeping force, condemned the attack on twitter.

“These senseless attacks .. aim to disrupt the lives of ordinary Somalis,” it said.

AMISOM forces, deployed to Somalia in 2007, includes about 22,000 soldiers from Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Burundi and Djibouti.

In December 2014, al-Shabab breached the base’s security perimeter and engaged troops in a gun battle that lasted several hours and killed at least three soldiers.

Al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for several other attacks in recent months.

On July 11, al-Shabab militants killed at least five Somali soldiers at a military base 25 miles from Mogadishu.

And on June 25, gunmen rushed into a hotel in Mogadishu after a large explosion, leaving as many as 15 dead and taking several people hostage.

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