A car burns Saturday in Mogadishu, Somalia, after a vehicle packed with explosives detonated.
A car burns Saturday in Mogadishu, Somalia, after a vehicle packed with explosives detonated.
PHOTO: Farah Abdi Warsameh/AP

Story highlights

Four people are killed and five injured in blast in Mogadishu, Somalia

Car bomb explodes near prison where militant Al-Shabaab suspects are questioned

(CNN) —  

The Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for a car bombing that killed four people Saturday in the Somali capital.

A vehicle packed with explosives detonated near a prison run by the Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency in Mogadishu, Col. Hamza Ali, a senior police officer, told CNN. The car had been parked at the Blue Sky restaurant near Godka Jili’ow prison, a heavily protected facility where Al-Shabaab suspects are questioned.

Five people were injured in the attack, Ali said.

A statement posted on a pro-Al-Shabaab website said the car bomb had targeted a Somali intelligence officer at the restaurant.

Al-Shabaab is a Somali extremist group that seeks to turn the country into a fundamentalist Islamic state. It has carried out repeated attacks against Somalia’s government and military targets.

Saturday’s attack followed a similar pattern of bombings.

Less than two weeks ago, Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for a car bomb that killed a Somali general and four of his guards.

In August, a truck bomb exploded outside the Somali presidential palace and a popular hotel in Mogadishu, killing at least 15. That month, a pair of suicide car bombings struck a government building, killing 23 people.

Designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the US in 2008, Al-Shabaab has carried out attacks against diverse targets at home – killing international aid workers, journalists, civilian leaders and peacekeepers – as well as abroad.

Some of its most brutal attacks have been in neighboring Kenya, which has taken a key role in the African Union’s military action against the group.

Last year, Al-Shabaab gunmen killed nearly 150 people at Kenya’s Garissa University College. At least 67 people were killed at a Nairobi shopping mall in 2013.

Journalist Omar Nor reported from Mogadishu. CNN’s Tim Hume contributed to this report.