Destruction and wreckages of cars after an attack on a government building in Mogadishu, Somalia June 20, 2017.
Destruction and wreckages of cars after an attack on a government building in Mogadishu, Somalia June 20, 2017.

At least 15 people were dead and several others wounded in a suicide car bomb attack in Somalia's capital, police said on Tuesday.

Police said an explosive-laden vehicle that appeared to be a milk delivery van was detonated at the Wadajir district headquarters in Mogadishu.

The death toll may rise, as some of the wounded were badly hurt in the explosion, Captain Mohamed Hussein said.

Most of the dead were civilians, Hussein said.

"More than 10 persons died, 20 others were wounded. The explosion destroyed the building of Wadajir District headquarters. More than 10 cars were destroyed in the explosion," Abdifatah Omar Halane, spokesman for the Mogadishu mayor, said.

The Al Qaida-linked Al Shabab extremist group quickly claimed responsibility for the attack via its Shahada News Agency, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militant groups.

The blast comes less than a week after Al Shabab gunmen carried out an overnight siege on a popular restaurant in the Somali capital, killing at least 31 people.

The Somalia-based Al Shabab often targets high-profile areas of Mogadishu, including hotels, military checkpoints and areas near the presidential palace.

The group has vowed to step up attacks after the recently elected government launched a new military offensive against it.

Al Shabab last year became the deadliest militant group in Africa, with more than 4,200 people killed in 2016, according to the Washington-based Africa Center for Strategic Studies.

The extremist group also faces a new military push from the US after President Donald Trump approved expanded operations, including air strikes, against Al Shabab.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies