MOGADISHU, Somalia — Islamist extremist group al-Shabaab on Thursday claimed responsibility for killing at least 12 people by crashing a car bomb into a cafe in the Somali capital of Mogadishu.
Al-Shabaab "hit its target well enough. Several government security agents have been killed," Sheikh Ali Mohamed Hussen, a senior leader of the al-Qaida-linked group told the German news agency dpa.
More than eight people were injured in the suicide attack, which took place in a cafe just 50 yards from Mogadishu's national security center.
"There were many people inside and around the cafe at the time of the attack; civilians, security forces and government intelligence officers," security official Mohamed Hassan told dpa.
Last week, al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for an attack outside of Somalia's presidential palace in Mogadishu, which killed 12 people.
Somalia has battled al-Shabaab for several years. Its efforts have been backed by the African Union and Kenya, which stepped up operations against the group after an attack on a Nairobi shopping mall killed 67 people in September.
Al-Shabaab was forced out of Mogadishu in August 2011 and retreated from the vital port of Kismayo in September 2012. Despite losing control of cities, the group still runs many rural areas.