Saturday July 5 2014

Car bomb explodes near Somali parliament

A wounded Somali parliament member (left) runs for cover

A wounded Somali parliament member (left) runs for cover during an attack on the Somali parliament in Mogadishu, on May 24, 2014. A car bomb exploded near the parliament on July 5, 2014. PHOTO/AFP  



A powerful car bomb exploded near Somalia's parliament in the capital Mogadishu on Saturday, causing casualties, police and witnesses said.

"A car loaded with explosives was intercepted near the parliament and it went off. There are casualties but we don't have details so far," police official Mohamed Idle told AFP.

Police and witnesses at the scene said there were as many as four dead and many more wounded.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, although al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab rebels have carried out frequent attacks against the parliament and other centres of Somalia's fragile, internationally-backed government.

Last month militants from the al Shabaab set off a car bomb at the gates of parliament and then stormed the building while MPs were meeting, in an attack that left several dead.

At the time a al Shabaab spokesman described the parliament as a "military zone" and a legitimate target.

On Thursday al Shabaab claimed responsibility for shooting dead a lawmaker and his bodyguard, the latest in a surge of attacks in Mogadishu during Islam's holy month of Ramadan.