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Somali bombings leave 23 dead; Al-Shabaab claims responsibility

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MOGADISHU, Somalia — A pair of suicide car bombings struck a government building in Somalia on Sunday, killing 23 people, including two attackers, authorities said.

Many of the fatalities are students and local traders who were at a nearby school and market in the town of Galkayo, police said.

One bomber rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into the main gate of the building, killing several people, local police Capt. Abdi Hassan said.

Minutes later, as people gathered to help the wounded, a second car bomb exploded. At least one police officer was killed, authorities said.

The terror group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, which targeted a government compound housing administrative offices, police said. The group’s spokesman, Sheikh Abdiaziz Abu Musab, spoke to Andalus Radio, a pro-militant station.

Northern Galkayo is under the control of Puntland, a semi-autonomous state in northeast Somalia.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Prime Minister Omar A Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke strongly condemned the attack, describing it “barbaric and heinous.”

A representative of UN Secretary-General in Somalia Michael Keating issued this statement: “This act of terror highlights the vulnerability of Somali civilians including children to actors who continue to use violence to achieve their objectives.”

Troubling trend

The attack follows a similar pattern of bombings in the country also claimed by Al-Shabaab, which wants to turn Somalia into an Islamist state.

In late July, six people died after double suicide car bombs exploded in Mogadishu.

Just days prior, suicide bombers detonated two vehicles laden with explosives near the capital’s Aden Adde International Airport, killing at least 12.

In June, the group also claimed separate attacks on two hotels popular with Somali politicians, which left more than two dozen people dead.