October 1, 2018 / 10:23 AM / 3 months ago

Three die after Somalia car bomb strikes EU convoy: police

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Three people were killed in a suicide car bombing by Islamist group al Shabaab which hit a European Union armored convoy in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Monday, police and an emergency service worker said.

A soldier patrols the road as the damage is assessed after Islamist group al Shabaab hit a European Union armoured convoy in Mogadishu, Somalia October 1, 2018. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

The blast struck the convoy around 12:10 PM local time on Industrial Road, a major thoroughfare in the heart of the city.

“We carried two dead locals and four others injured,” Abdikadir Abdirahman of AMIN Ambulance Services told Reuters.

Police said the bomber had also died in the blast.

A Reuters witness saw men towing their damaged vehicle after the explosion hit its rear end. The armored vehicles had Italian and EU flags on them.

The al Shabaab group, which frequently carries out attacks in the Horn of Africa country, claimed responsibility.

The Italian military said a convoy of five vehicles returning from a training activity had been attacked but that no one was wounded or killed.

“The vehicle, with four soldiers on board, was slightly damaged and able to return to the base,” it said.

Al Qaeda-affiliated al Shabaab wants to topple Somalia’s Western-backed central government and impose its own rule based on its strict interpretation of Islam’s sharia law.

The European Union is one of the major sources of funding for the African Union-mandated peace-keeping force AMISOM which helps defend Somalia’s central government against the Islamists.

Somalia has been engulfed by violence and lawlessness since the early 1990s after the toppling of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

Additional reporting Steve Scherer in Rome; writing by Elias Biryabarema; editing by William Maclean, Ed Osmond

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