Somalia's Islamist rebels to intensify bombing campaign

AFP , Saturday 18 Feb 2012

Al-Qaeda's franchise in Somalia, Shabab el-Mogahdin pledge to lunch more attacks to topple the weak Western-backed government, and the African Union troops who guard it

Somalis observe the remains of a vehicle used in a car bomb attack in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. (Photo:AP)

Somalia Al-Qaeda allied Shebab rebels warned Saturday they were intensifying a bombing campaign in the war-torn capital Mogadishu, a day after detonating a car bomb at a police station wounding one.

Shebab spokesman Sheikh Abdulaziz Abu Musab said the extremist Islamist fighters had prepared a string of suicide bombers in their battle to topple the weak Western-backed government, and the African Union troops who guard it.

"The explosion which hit at the police headquarters on Friday was the beginning of a series of suicide and bombing attacks that mujahideen fighters plan to carry out in Mogadishu in the coming days," Abu Musab told reporters.

Police on Saturday said they had found another car laden with explosives close by to the same station, near the busy central K4 roundabout.

At least one police officer was wounded in the heavy blast Friday, when explosives packed into a car seized by the police was detonated, destroying part of the police compound's perimeter wall.

The attack was the latest in a string of blasts including roadside bombs and grenade explosions that have rocked Mogadishu in the past six months since the hardline Shebab left fixed positions and switched to guerrilla attacks.

"We will continue bombing... we call on civilians to stay away from those areas where the enemy is based," Abu Musab said, adding that government officials and African Union troops were considered targets.

Police official Mohamed Abdi said security had been tightened in the anarchic city.

"Police are on high alert to stop any attempt by Al-Qaeda to harm civilians...we have intelligence the enemy is planning to carry out desperate attacks in Mogadishu," Abdi told AFP.

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