9 killed in simultaneous car bomb attacks in Somalia

TEHRAN, Jan. 04 (MNA) – At least nine people were killed and several others wounded in simultaneous car bomb attacks in a town in central Somalia on Wednesday, security officials and witnesses said.

The attack was claimed by the Al-Shabaab terrorist group, which has been waging a years-long insurgency against the fragile central government, according to AFP citing the SITE monitoring group.

"The terrorists attacked Mahas town this morning using vehicles loaded with explosives," local security official Abdullahi Adan told AFP by phone.

"They have targeted a civilian area and we have confirmed that nine people, all of them civilians, died in the two explosions."

The attack took place in the Hiran region of central Somalia, where a major offensive was launched last year against the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab.

"The terrorists, after having (been) defeated, resorted to desperately targeting civilians, but this will not stop the will of the people to continue defeating them," said Osman Nur, a police commander in Mahas.

"They have killed innocent civilians in the explosions," he added.

Witnesses said the blasts occurred near a restaurant not far from a district administration building in Mahas.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility in a statement issued by its media unit, saying fighters had detonated explosives at military bases in Mahas and also attacked another base in Dadan 'Ad, about 17 kilometres (10 miles) away, according to SITE.

RHM/PR

News Code 195736

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