MOGADISHU, Somalia, Nov. 26 (UPI) – A car bomb exploded in the Somali capital on Saturday killing 11 people in a crowded marketplace and injuring at least 16 more.

Officials said the number of deaths could still rise as more people are accounted for.

No group has come forward to claim responsibility for the attack, but the al-Qaida-linked terrorist group al-Shabab has launched a string of similar attacks in the country of late. Al-Shabab previously controlled large swaths of Somalia before an African Union peacekeeping force helped restore a functioning government in 2011.

More than 22,000 African Union peacekeepers remain in the country, a source of contention with the militants.

While the group has been forced underground, it has launched several terrorist attacks, including a similar car bomb in August that detonated in Mogadishu, killing 15 at a popular hotel. Another car bomb exploded at a security checkpoint near the Somali Parliament earlier this month, killing three.

Saturday’s explosion happened in a crowded outdoor produce market, where shopkeepers’ stalls lined a street teeming with people.

The explosion came as Somalia holds its first limited parliamentary elections in four years. International groups have restricted the first round of voting to 14,000 people, limiting participation due to security concerns for polling locations if the whole country were to vote. Those elections will produce a legislature whose members will select a president.

The election was supposed to conclude by the end of November, but officials conceded it was likely to stretch into December due to delays.



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