ISTANBUL (AP) — A suicide bombing near the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on Saturday killed five people including two Turks, Turkish and Somali officials said.
The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group claimed responsibility for the attack in a post by its Shahada News Agency. The Somalia-based group often targets Mogadishu with suicide bombings and other attacks, and it has exploded bombs against the Turkish military and other targets there in the past.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted that 14 people, including three Turks, were wounded and are being treated in a Mogadishu hospital named after Turkey’s president.
“We strongly condemn this heinous attack targeting the employees of a Turkish company that undertook the Mogadishu-Afgoye road construction and contributes to the development and prosperity of Somalia,” a foreign ministry statement said.
The three others killed were Somali policemen, police Capt. Ahmed Mohamed said.
Turkish security sources said the suicide attacker used a motorcycle. They said the attack took place 15 kilometers (8 miles) from a Turkish military base, which was not affected. The base is Turkey’s largest military installation abroad.
This is the second time the road project has been attacked by al-Shabab. In January last year, a vehicle filled with explosives exploded at the entrance, killing and wounding dozens of people, including several Turkish citizens.
The attack led to a pause in the project, which recommenced a few months ago after security was improved.
Separately on Saturday, the U.S. military said it had carried out two airstrikes against al-Shabab compounds near Qunya Barrow on Friday, the first such strikes of the year after more than 50 last year. A U.S. statement said both compounds were destroyed.
Hassan Barise in Mogadishu, Somalia contributed.