At least seven people, including soldiers and civilians, were killed on Saturday in Somalia's capital, after a suicide car bombing that targeted a security checkpoint near the presidential palace, police said.
"What we know so far is that at least seven people, among them soldiers, were killed, and more than 10 others wounded in today's suicide car bomb blast in Mogadishu," police officer Abdi Hassan Mohamed told Anadolu Agency over the phone after the blast.
Paramedics and security forces rushed to the scene as the wounded were transported to hospitals for treatment, he said, adding that the explosion had also destroyed several vehicles and shook nearby houses.
Recounting what he saw of the blast and its aftermath, minivan driver and eyewitness Guuled Ibrahim said: "The explosion was huge. After the blast occurred, there was gunfire. Minutes later, we rushed to the scene and it was horrific, with a lot of confusion."
A Somali police spokesman had also confirmed that the attack was caused by a suicide car bombing.
The Al-Qaeda affiliated al-Shabaab terror group claimed responsibility for the blast shortly after the attack and said that it had targeted a convoy carrying senior government officials heading to the presidential palace.
Al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda affiliate, was also behind a truck-bombing attack in October 2017 in Mogadishu that took some 600 lives, the worst attack in the nation's history.
The same organization was behind numerous similar attacks across the country.