USA military drone strike prevents 'imminent' attack on Mogadishu

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"We lost 18 police officers and 15 others were injured", Muktar Hussein Afrah, Somalia's deputy police commander, told reporters at the blast scene.

At least 17 people were killed and several others injured on Thursday morning after a suicide bomber wearing a police uniform blew up himself outside a police academy in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, local media reported.

Police earlier put the death toll at 15.

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The security chiefs said the circumstances under which the suicide bomber infiltrated the heavily guarded police academy remain unclear.

The bomber walked into the police academy undetected and joined a long line of officers in the rehearsal parade before he detonated the explosives under his sportswear, Hussein said. This group is known for carrying out similar attacks frequently in Mogadishu and other areas of the state.

Female police officers were among those killed in the attack in which Al-Shabaab militant group has claimed responsibility.

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The group, which is allied to al-Qaeda, is battling the UN-backed government in Somalia.

A 22,000-strong African Union force (Amisom) is in Somalia trying to help the government recapture territory from militants.

The Somali capital has been spared another deadly auto bomb blast following a USA military drone strike on a vehicle carrying explosives, AP reports.

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At the same time, Somalia could become a safe haven for militants linked to al Qaeda now in Yemen, the experts said.

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