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7 killed in suicide bomber attack in Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia -- Seven people were killed on Sunday when a suicide bomber attempted to ram a car laden with explosives into a military convoy escorting a four-member Qatari delegation.

Gen. Garad Nor Abdulle, a senior police official, said the members of the Qatari delegation who were being escorted in the interior minister's convoy were unharmed and safely reached their hotel.

Abdulle said the interior minister was not in the convoy.

Mohamed Abdi, an officer at the scene of the blast, said four civilians and a soldier died immediately.

Another two people died in hospital and 18 were being treated for wounds from the blast, said Dr. Duniya Mohamed Ali at the Medina hospital.

The Qatari delegates are involved in development projects in Mogadishu, Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said.

Mohamud blamed al-Qaida-linked Somali militant group al-Shabab for the attack.

He said "suspects" have been arrested.

Separately, four Somali soldiers were wounded on Sunday when a roadside bomb struck a government vehicle in Deynile district, in Mogadishu's northwest, said Ali Jimale, a captain with the Somali police.

The car bombing falls into a pattern of attacks blamed on the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab, which has been pushed out of much of the areas it occupied in South and Central Somalia by African Union troops.

Condemning yesterday's attack, the UN representative to Somalia, Augustine P. Mahiga said cowardly and senseless acts of violence will not undermine the remarkable progress Somalia has made in the past months.

"Attacks against civilians are never justifiable. I call on all parties to renounce violence and contribute positively to peace and stability," he said.

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