Fri Sep 1, 2017 03:08PM
Somali security personnel look toward burning vehicles as they secure an area in Mogadishu on July 30, 2017, after a car bomb explosion in the Somalian capital. (Photo by AFP)
Somali security personnel look toward burning vehicles as they secure an area in Mogadishu on July 30, 2017, after a car bomb explosion in the Somalian capital. (Photo by AFP)

The al-Shabab Takfiri terrorist group has claimed responsibility for a bomb attack that killed 12 people, including five soldiers, in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region.

The Puntland military said the attack was carried out in the village of Af-Urur, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of the city of Bossaso, on Friday.

Major Mohamed Ismail, a Puntland military officer, said the explosion was caused by a bomb "planted near the khat market of Af-Urur."

Af-Urur lies near the Galgala hills, an area held by the terrorists, who have attacked and seized the town several times. In June, al-Shabab terrorists killed 38 people there.

The Friday attack coincided with Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice), an important festival on the Islamic calendar that marks the climax of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

The Takfiri group’s military operations spokesman, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, said, "We are behind the attack in Af-Urur village. We killed five soldiers and injured 10 others."

Al-Shabab has stepped up its deadly bombings in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, since the new government took office in February.

Somali has been the scene of deadly clashes between government forces and al-Shabab since 2006.

The Takfiri group was forced out of the capital by African Union troops in 2011 but still controls parts of the countryside and carries out attacks against government, military and civilian targets.

The extremist group is just one of the challenges facing the new Somali government, which is still struggling to expand its authority beyond the capital and other selected areas.