Somalia's Al-Shebaab, whose fighters are seen here in a file picture, has claimed responsibility for the blast.

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General was leading figure in fight against Al-Shabaab

Four of his guards were also killed in the bombing Sunday

Mogadishu, Somalia CNN  — 

The Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for a car bomb in Mogadishu that killed a Somali general and four of his guards Sunday.

Gen. Mohamed Roble Jimale, commander of the Somali Army’s 3rd division and a leading figure in the fight against Al-Shabaab, was killed as he was leaving a compound, according to Gen. Yusuf Mohamed.

The general was wounded in the attack and died later in a hospital, Mohamed said.

Al-Shabaab is a Somali extremist group that seeks to turn the country into a fundamentalist Islamic state and has carried out repeated attacks against Somali government and military targets.

Last month, an Al-Shabaab truck bomb exploded outside the Somali presidential palace and a popular hotel in Mogadishu, killing at least 15. Less than two weeks earlier, a pair of suicide car bombings struck a government building, killing 23 people.

The United States designated Al-Shabaab as a foreign terrorist organization in 2008. It has carried out attacks against diverse targets at home – killing international aid workers, journalists, civilian leaders and peacekeepers – as well as abroad.

Some of its most brutal attacks have been in neighboring Kenya, which has taken a key role in the African Union’s military action against the group.

Last year, Al-Shabaab gunmen killed nearly 150 people at Kenya’s Garissa University College. At least 67 people were killed at a Nairobi shopping mall in 2013.

Journalist Omar Nor reported from Mogadishu, Somalia, and Tim Hume reported and wrote from London. CNN’s Holly Yan contributed to this report.