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Suicide Bombings In Somalia's Capital Kill 13 Near Peacekeeping Base

Somali soldiers stand guard next to the wreckage of a car bomb outside the U.N.'s office in Mogadishu on Tuesday. At least 13 people were killed in twin bombings near U.N. and African Union buildings adjoining Mogadishu's airport, police said, in what the jihadist al-Shabab group claimed as a suicide attack.

Two car bombs in Mogadishu, Somalia, killed 13 people on Tuesday, in an attack that has been claimed by the Islamist militant group al-Shabab, The Associated Press reports.

The twin suicide bombings occurred near the African Union peacekeeping base, by the Mogadishu airport.

One explosion targeted the offices of a U.N. mine-clearing agency, the AP writes:

"Unlike previous attacks by al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaida, gunmen did not accompany the suicide bomber, said police Capt. Mohamed Hussein. The first suicide car bomber tried to speed through the barrier at the U.N. office but guards shot at the car, he said."

The other bomb struck outside an army checkpoint, staffed with Somali forces, the wire service says.

The explosions shattered windows in the nearby airport, Reuters reports.

Last year, NPR's Gregory Warner reported on how al-Shabab rebranded itself after al-Qaida's military losses in Iraq. He noted that outside of Somalia, the group recruits broadly but inside Somalia, it is focused on Islamic fundamentalism:

"In Somalia, al-Shabab has aspired since its founding about 10 years ago to rule the country under a fanatical interpretation of Sharia law. In territory it has controlled, al-Shabab was known for stoning women and cutting off the hands of thieves."

The group is working to overthrow Somalia's Western-backed government, Reuters notes.

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