7 dead, dozens injured in suicide car bomb explosion in northeastern Somalia

7 dead, dozens injured in suicide car bomb explosion in northeastern Somalia

MOGADISHU, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- A suicide car bomb blasted in northeastern Somali city of Bossasso on Thursday, killing seven people including three soldiers and wounding more than 35 others, local authorities said in a statement.

"A suicide car bomber targeted Puntland government forces. Preliminary information indicates that seven persons -- three soldiers and four civilians -- were killed in this heinous terrorist attack," a statement from the local government officials said.

The explosion happened near a busy intersection beside a packed market in the port city in the north of the semi-autonomous Somali state of Puntland.

Witnesses said a security convoy was apparently the target of the attack.

Puntland officials condemned the attack, described it as a terrorist attack and praised "the quick and professional action" of local forces, medical personnel and the public respond to this emergency.

Authorities blamed Islamist Al-Shabaab group of being behind the attack in Bossasso. The radical group which has links to Al- Qaida has previously carried out attacks in the region and other areas including the capital Mogadishu.

Al-Shabaab which is opposed to the internationally recognized Somali government is mainly active in central and southern Somalia and has carried out similar attacks against Somali government targets and of African Union peacekeeping mission (AMISOM).

Fighters of Al-Shabaab have been driven out of much of southern and central Somalia but remain active in rural parts of the country and launch attacks in urban centers including the capital Mogadishu.

Extremist group allied to Al-Shabaab is active in the mountainous areas in the region around Bossasso and have been fighting local forces for the past few years. The local group is accused of being behind several assassinations of prominent figures in Puntland.