Somalia bombing kills at least 17

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Attack was attempt to assassinate new military chief, police said

Terror group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility

CNN  — 

A suicide car bombing Sunday in the Somali capital Mogadishu killed at least 17 people, Somali police said.

Terror group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility through a statement on Andalus Radio, its main radio channel.

Police Capt. Osman Mohamed said the attack was an attempt to assassinate the new Somali military chief, Gen. Ahmed Mohamed Irfid.

Somalia is divided into three regions, with its capital of Mogadishu.

The attack happened on a busy street between the military academy and the ministry of defense headquarters.

The bomber tried to drive into a convoy carrying Irfid, but missed and rammed into a minibus carrying passengers, police said.

Irfid, who was appointed just three days ago by Somali President Mohamed Farmaajo in a major security shake-up, escaped unharmed. Ambulance driver Ahmed Hussein told CNN that some of the injured died on their way to hospital.

Al-Shabaab aims to make Somalia a fundamentalist Islamic state, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. It has been blamed for fatal attacks inside the country and abroad.