At least eight people have been killed and several others wounded in an attack claimed by Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabab group.

At least 17 wounded people were rushed to a hospital, police said.
At least 17 wounded people were rushed to a hospital, police said. (Reuters)

A large explosion outside a school in Somalia's capital has killed at least eight people, including students. 

Thursday's blast sent a plume of smoke above a busy part of Mogadishu during the morning rush hour.

The blast sent a plume of smoke above a busy part of Mogadishu during the morning rush hour. 

The blast shredded part of the school, with emergency workers looking through the collap sed roof beams and wooden benches.

Police spokesman Abdifatah Adam Hassan said eight people were killed and 17 others wounded.

“This is a tragedy,” said Abdulkadir Adan of the Amin ambulance service, which rushed people to a hospital.

Al Shabab claims responsibility

A statement carried by the group's Andalus radio said it targeted Western officials being escorted by the African Union peacekeeping convoy. 

But a witness, Hassan Ali, told the AP that a private security company was escorting the officials and said he saw four of the security personnel wounded.

The attack occurred as Somalia faces major questions about its political and security future.

The AU peacekeeping force was meant to withdraw from the country, but its mission could be extended amid concerns that Somali forces are not ready to assume responsibility for security. 

The US early this year said its troop withdrawal from Somalia was complete.

A long-delayed presidential vote was meant to take place in February but now looks set to be held next year.

READ MORE: Car bomb blast targets journalists in Somalia's Mogadishu

Source: TRTWorld and agencies