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Al-Shabaab militants kill Somali lawmaker, officials say

By Omar Nor and Jason Hanna, CNN
updated 3:32 PM EDT, Thu July 3, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Islamist group Al-Shabaab claims responsibility
  • Lawmaker and a security guard killed in drive-by shooting
  • Mohamed Mohamud Hayd is third lawmaker to be killed in Mogadishu this year
  • Second lawmaker injured in Thursday's attack

Mogadishu, Somalia (CNN) -- Islamist militants killed one Somali lawmaker and wounded another in a drive-by shooting in the capital on Thursday morning, the third assassination of a Parliament member this year, police and a legislator said.

Mohamed Mohamud Hayd and a security guard were shot and killed near a hotel by gunmen riding in a speeding minivan in Mogadishu's Hamarweyne district, lawmaker Hussein Arab Isse said.

Another federal lawmaker, Abdullahi Ahmed Hussein, also known as "Onka," was seriously injured in the shooting and taken to a hospital for treatment, authorities said.

In a statement posted on a pro-militant website, the al-Qaeda-linked Islamist group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility. It said the attack was a "beginning of Ramadan offensive," referring to the start of a monthlong fasting period for Muslims.

The attackers were wearing Somali army uniforms, Isse said. They drove away after the shooting, police Capt. Abdalla Jama said.

Al-Shabaab's aim is to turn Somalia into a fundamentalist Islamic state, though it has carried out attacks in other African countries, as well. The group carried out the mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya, in September that left at 67 people dead.

Hayd "was a man who served his country and his people," Somali government spokesman Ridwaan Haji Adbiwali said.

"We condemn this and any other murders, especially during the holy month of Ramadan," Abdiwali said. "Islam does not support the killing of innocents, brothers slaying brothers and criminal acts."

Hayd's death comes more than three months after the assassinations of two other lawmakers, and almost six weeks since a bloody attack on the parliament headquarters.

On April 21 in Mogadishu, a hidden bomb exploded in a car containing Parliament member Isack Mohamed Ali, popularly known as Isack Rino, killing him, officials said.

The next day, gunmen shot and killed lawmaker Abdulaziz Isaak Mursal as he drove to work from his home in Mogadishu's Dharkenley neighborhood, police said.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for both killings.

On May 24, al-Shabaab militants attacked Parliament headquarters with guns and explosives in a siege that lasted more than three hours. At least 10 people were killed and 11 others injured, witnesses and officials said. Security forces killed some of the attackers, and other militants died by blowing themselves up, police said.

Al-Shabaab, designated a foreign terrorist organization by the United States, has a relationship with al Qaeda that goes back several years. The two groups effectively merged in 2012, according to CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen.

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Journalist Omar Nor reported from Mogadishu. CNN's Jason Hanna wrote from Atlanta. CNN's Nana Karikari-apau contributed to this report.

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