A powerful explosion killed at least four people in the capital, Somalia, on Thursday, the police said. The Islamic extremist group claimed it was the target hotel in Mogadishu, but a police officer said the militants detonated the bomb while trying to kill the judge.
The militants set a car bomb near Supreme Court judge Abshir Omar, and the security forces standing in front of the courtroom fought against armed men who tried to get inside, said police officer Mohamed Hussein.
Eight others were injured in the attack, Hussein told Associated Press.
Two witnesses said that the explosion broke off a part of the Omar house roof. Witnesses, merchant Ahmed Mohamed and a resident of the Fatima Nur area, reported that after the explosion, they heard gunfire and said the smoke blew out of the scene.
Al-Shabab, considered the most deadly Islamic extremist group in Africa, has claimed responsibility for the attack. The group that was associated with al-Qaida said that the Maka Almukarrama hotel, and not the adjacent court, was a targeted target.
The other witness, Sabir Abdi, said that the hotel suffered significant damage and several people were injured inside.
At Maka Almukarramah Road, in the busy part of Mogadisha, where restaurants and hotels are located, dozens of cars are set on fire.
Al-Shabab has repeatedly targeted Maka Almukarrama's hotel several times, including an attack in March 2015 that killed at least 18 people.
A militant group that opposes the federal government of Somalia and wants to enforce the Sharia law has carried out many deadly attacks in Somalia and elsewhere in the region, including neighboring Kenya.
This was after the deadliest attack in the history of Somalia, a mass bombing of a truck that killed more than 500 people in Mogadishu in October 2017. Al-Shabab also said he was responsible for the January attack on a hotel and a shopping complex in the nearest Kenya capital, Nairobi. who killed 21 people.
The US has dramatically increased air strikes against an extremist group since President Donald Trump assumed office. The United States Military Command for the African continent reported the execution of 50 strikes in Somalia in 2018.
This year, US strikes aimed at al-Shabab fighters have come even faster. A military command in Africa has reported 23 since Tuesday, including one in central Somalia, killing 20 militants, and the other day before that 35 killed.
Rodney Muhumuza contributed from Kampala, Uganda.