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Suicide blast rocks Somali city

At least 13 people have died after a suicide bomber detonated explosives inside a restaurant in a city north of the capital of Somalia.

Twelve people plus the bomber died in the blast in the city of Beledweyne, about 200 miles north of Mogadishu. At least 10 other people were injured.

Many of those killed or wounded were civilians, a police officer said, although it was possible some of the victims were government soldiers.

Beledweyne is under the control of the central government and African Union peacekeepers from Djibouti are stationed there.

No-one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but the al Qaida-linked al Shabab militants frequently stage such attacks on seats of power as well as restaurants and other public places that are popular with foreigners and government soldiers.

Al Shabab, which seeks political control of Somalia, has said it wants all foreign peacekeepers to leave the country. This is cited as the reason it has staged attacks in east African countries such as Kenya and Uganda, which have sent peacekeepers to support Somalia's central government.

The al Shabab militants claimed responsibility for a deadly attack last month on a mall in Kenya's capital, Nairobi.

Al Shabab said the September 21 attack, in which scores were killed during a four-day siege of the Westgate shopping mall, was in retaliation for Kenya sending troops into Somalia to tackle the extremists.

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