11182017Headline:

Car bomb explodes in downtown Mogadishu, killing at least 5

A car bomb has exploded outside a coffee shop in Somalia's capital of Mogadishu, killing at least five people including a senior military officer, officials and witnesses say. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The attack happened at 5:30 p.m. local time on Monday when an explosives-laden vehicle was detonated in front of a coffee shop on Makkah Almukarramah Road in downtown Mogadishu, close to the Raasa Hotel and the city's immigration directorate.

Footage from the scene showed a vehicle engulfed in flames, sending thick plumes of smoke billowing into the air. A witness told the Reuters news agency that bursts of gunfire were heard in the aftermath of the car bombing.

At least five people were killed in the attack and nearly a dozen others were injured, some of them seriously. Officials told VOA Somali that a senior military officer was among those killed, though it is unclear whether he was specifically targeted.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Monday's attack, but attacks in Somalia are usually carried out by the al-Qaeda-linked militant group Al-Shabaab, which has vowed to fight the administration of President Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo" Mohamed.

Al-Shabaab was the militant wing of the Somali Council of Islamic Courts which seized most of southern Somalia in the second half of 2006, but it later lost ground before pledging allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2012. One of its worst attacks happened in 2010 when it bombed two World Cup viewing parties in Uganda, killing 74 people.

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