|Deadly blasts strike Somali capital||
At least 18 people have been killed in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, after two explosions ripped through a busy car park, police said.
Somalia's al-Shabab on Saturday claimed the twin blasts in the Hamarweyne district of the capital.
“Successful operations carried out in Mogadishu's Hamarweyne district,” the group said on its Somali-language Twitter feed.
Police and witnesses said the source of the first blast was a car laden with explosives that was parked by a restaurant close to the theatre.
“There were two heavy explosions at a parking lot near the National Theatre,” police officer Mohamed Adan told the AFP news agency.
The second blast, which followed minutes later, was a “suicide bomber who blew himself up in the crowd of civilians who rushed to the scene of the first blast,” Ahmed Weli Said, a Somali government security official, said.
The National Theatre re-opened in 2012 after two decades.
Just weeks after it re-opened, Al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab fighters struck, with a suicide bomber blowing herself up and killing two of the country's senior sporting officials who were attending an event there.
“They attack the restaurants because they hate to see people peacefully spending time together,'' said Mohamed Abdi, an Interior Ministry employee, who spoke as he stood near the dead body of an old man.
“They are committed to obliterating any sign of peace. Because of such attacks, it's very hard for the government to restore security in the near future.''
African Union forces pushed al-Shabab out of Mogadishu in August 2011, but the rebels continue to carry out suicide attacks in the capital.
(Source: Al Jazeera and agencies)
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