A car bomb exploded in Somalia's war-torn capital Mogadishu on Wednesday, wounding at least one security officer in the latest in a spate of insurgent attacks, officials said.
"Security forces foiled a car bomb attack intended to kill innocent civilians," said Abidweli Said, a police official. "One security officer who had sealed off the road to inspect the car was injured."
The bomb exploded as police cordoned off the busy Maka al-Mukarama street, the road that leads to the presidential palace some two kilometers (one mile) away, after they had become suspicious of the parked car.
"There was only one casualty because all the roads had been closed by security forces," said Ali Muhidin, a witness. "The car exploded and there was smoke and shrapnel all around the area."
The al-Qaida-linked Shebab rebels have said they were behind last week's suicide bomb attack at the presidency as well as mortars targeting the presidential palace earlier this week.
The city has seen a rise in such attacks since the hardline Shebab militants abandoned fixed positions there in August and switched to guerrilla tactics against the Western-backed government and 10,000-strong African Union force.
The Islamist gunmen have launched recent salvos of mortar bombs at the presidential palace, while Shebab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane on Tuesday called on his fighters to renew attacks against AU troops and the government.
The Shebab face increasing pressure from pro-government forces and regional armies, and last month lost control of their strategic base of Baidoa to Ethiopian troops, the second major loss in six months after abandoning fixed bases in capital.
However, experts warn the Shebab are far from defeated and remain a major threat, especially now they have in many areas switched to guerrilla tactics.
On Tuesday, the rebels were ousted from the central town of Dhusamareb hours after they captured it from a pro-government militia, in fierce battles both sides claimed had killed several rival fighters.
The Shebab and other armed groups control large areas of the lawless Horn of Africa nation that has suffered the depredations of a two-decade civil war and the devastation of a severe humanitarian crisis.
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