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Al Shabab claims responsibility for deadly Somalia blast

The message also accused Turkey of trying to control Somalia's resources.

A security officer is seen at the scene of a large explosion near a checkpoint in Mogadishu, Somalia. EPA
A security officer is seen at the scene of a large explosion near a checkpoint in Mogadishu, Somalia. EPA

Militant group Al Shabab on Monday claimed responsibility for a massive car bomb blast in Somalia at the weekend that killed at least 80 people.

A spokesman for Al Shabab, which has ties to Al Qaeda, said the bombing targeted a convoy of Somali and Turkish forces.

The extremists also accused Turkey of trying to control Somalia's resources.

Al Shabab has regularly carried out bombings during its more than decade-long fight to topple the UN-backed Somali government.

But the government itself said a foreign country was behind the horrific suicide attack at a busy checkpoint near Mogadishu.

In a tweet on Monday, Somalia's National Intelligence and Security Agency said, "a foreign country planned the massacre of the Somalis".

The agency didn't name the country but said it would work with foreign intelligence agencies in its investigation.

Saturday's attack was the deadliest to hit Somalia since 2017.

The statement from Al Shabab came as the US military said it carried out air strikes that killed four "terrorists" in the country on Sunday.

"These precision air strikes targeted Al Shabab militants responsible for terrorist acts against innocent Somali citizens and co-ordinating with Al Qaeda," the US Africa Command said.

"The US and the federal government of Somalia will continue to increase pressure on the terrorist organisation in order to deny them the ability to plot terrorist attacks."

Two strikes killed two militants and destroyed two vehicles in Qunyo Barrow while a third strike killed another two in Caliyoow Barrow, the US military said.

Updated: December 31, 2019 12:24 PM

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