Image: Scene of car bomb
Feisal Omar  /  Reuters
Somalis stand near the scene of a suicide car bomb that exploded near Muna Hotel, south of the capital of Mogadishu, on Wednesday.
By
updated 2/8/2012 2:30:48 PM ET 2012-02-08T19:30:48

A car bomb killed eight people and wounded two members of parliament in Somalia's capital Wednesday, officials said, in an attack claimed by a spokesman for Somalia's Islamist insurgency.

A car bomb parked near a hotel in Mogadishu exploded, police commander Ahmed Hassan Maalin said. Eight people were killed and 11 were seriously injured, Somali parliamentarian Mohamud Abdullahi Wehelie said.

Two parliamentary members were among those wounded, parliamentary member Dahir Iro said.

Wehelie called the explosion a "cowardly and heartless attack."

The Somali militant group al-Shabab claimed the attack in a Twitter message, saying the target was a restaurant frequented by senior government officials, members of parliament and intelligence personnel.

African Union troops supporting the weak U.N.-backed government have largely pushed al-Shabab out of Mogadishu, but the militants continue to carry out roadside and suicide bombings in the capital.

Somalia has not had a functioning central government for more than 21 years.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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