People gather at the scene of a bomb blast in Mogadishu, capital of Somalia. On Dec 22, Police said a suicide car bombing near the presidential palace killed at least six people and wounded several others. File picture: Xinhua/Faisal Isse.

MOGADISHU — Police in Somalia say a suicide car bombing near the presidential palace has killed at least six people and wounded several others.

Col. Ahmed Mohamud says those killed in the Saturday morning blast include soldiers and civilians.

Capt. Mohamed Hussein says the bomber targeted a military checkpoint near the rear entrance of the heavily fortified palace.

Police say lawmakers and other officials had been traveling nearby on what is a business day in the Horn of Africa nation.

A second blast was heard shortly afterward nearby in Mogadishu as a plume of smoke rose over the capital.

Islamist terrorist group al-Shabaab has since claimed responsibility for deadly bomb blasts.

The group was targeting security checkpoints protecting the presidential palace, the group said on pro-insurgent radio station Andalus.

AP and dpa