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Car Bomb Hits Somali Religious Centre, Gunmen Targeting Local Cleric - Reports

© REUTERS / Feisal OmarSomali security officers run from the scene of an explosion in Mogadishu
Somali security officers run from the scene of an explosion in Mogadishu - Sputnik International
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A car bomb exploded near a religious centre in central Somalia on Monday and armed gunmen stormed inside to assault a local cleric, Reuters reported.

The Al-Shabab militant group has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.

"A suicide car bomb rammed into the centre of the controversial cleric called Abdiweli. Now the militants are inside and firing at those inside,"  an elder in the town of Galkayo Farah Nur was quote as saying by Reuters.

Somalia ambulance - Sputnik International
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A spokesman for the militant Islamist group, Abdiasis Abu Musab, said that "a car bomb rammed into the centre of the man who insulted the prophet. Our militants are now inside and fighting goes on".

Al-Shabab, which has sworn allegiance to the Al-Qaeda terror group, has been staging numerous attacks across the country in an attempt to impose a radical version of Sharia law.

Somalia has been engulfed in violence since the eruption of a civil war between clan-based armed factions in the early 1990s.

READ MORE: As US Forces Struggle to Hold Territory in Somalia, Peacekeepers Continue Exodus

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