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Nine killed in Somalia car bombing

A car bomb has killed at least nine people and wounded many others at a restaurant in Somalia's capital, police said.

Security forces secured the area around the Banoda restaurant, near Somalia's heavily guarded presidential palace in Mogadishu, after the attack, said police.

The attack bears the hallmarks of Somalia's Islamic extremist group al-Shabab, which frequently carries out attacks in Mogadishu and throughout Somalia.

It came after at least seven people were killed yesterday when a bomb planted in a UN van exploded in the northern area of Puntland, a semi-autonomous region that is normally peaceful.

Four UN staff working to help Somali children were among those killed, the UN children's agency said.

Al-Shabab, which is allied to al Qaida, appears to be stepping up attacks in Somalia and across borders even as it loses ground inside Somalia.

Despite losing some of its leaders in US air strikes and being pushed by African Union forces out of the capital and into rural regions mostly in southern Somalia, al-Shabab is still able to carry out deadly bombings against government targets and public places seen as popular with foreigners.

The extremists have also attacked neighbouring Kenya, which has sent troops to Somalia to fight the insurgents.

Al-Shabab claimed an attack earlier this month at Garissa University College in eastern Kenya in which at least 148 people were killed.

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