5 People Killed in an explosion.

Deadly explosion rocks Somali capital Mogadishu: Witnesses At least five people were killed and 23 others injured in a blast claimed by the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab armed group.

5 People Killed in an explosion.
The blast collapsed the walls of nearby schools and left cars mangled. [Farah Abdi Warsameh/AP Photo]

According to witnesses and officials, at least five people were killed after a large explosion rocked the Somali capital of Mogadishu.

The explosion occurred in the early hours of Thursday near the K4 junction in the city's heart. Witnesses said it caused a cloud of smoke and that they heard the gunshots.
"So far, we know five people have died and 23 others have been injured," Abdikadir Abdirahman Adan, director of Aamin Ambulance services, told Reuters.


Photos show the blast destroying a portion of a school, with emergency personnel peering through collapsed roof beams and wooden benches. According to Adan, students were among those injured in the blast. According to Mohamed Abdillahi, a security official, 11 students were injured.
According to Mohamed Hussein, a nurse at the nearby Osman Hospital, they were "shaken by the blast pressure, then deafened by the gunfire that followed."
Hussein claimed he was rescued from the ruins of a collapsed ceiling. "Our hospital's walls gave way. A school has also collapsed across the street from us. "I don't know how many people died," he said.
The blast blew down the walls of nearby schools and mangled cars.

Al-Shabab, a Somali armed group, claimed responsibility for the deadly attack. According to Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group's military operations spokesman, the explosion was aimed at a United Nations convoy.

In a statement carried by its Andalus radio, the al-Qaeda-linked armed group said it was going after Western officials being escorted by the African Union peacekeeping convoy.
For years, Al-Shabab has fought Somalia's central government to establish its own rule based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law.
The peacekeeping force was supposed to leave the country, but its mission could be extended due to concerns that Somali forces are not ready to take on security responsibilities.