Gunmen kill Somali lawmaker and his bodyguard

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Associated Press

Posted on July 3, 2014 at 6:04 AM

Updated Thursday, Jul 3 at 9:06 AM

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Gunmen killed a Somali lawmaker and his bodyguard in a drive-by shooting in the capital on Thursday, police said, the latest attack by suspected Islamic militants who have vowed to step up violence during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Mohamed Mohamud Heyd, his bodyguard, a parliamentary aide and another lawmaker were on their way to attend a parliamentary meeting in Mogadishu when their car was sprayed with bullets, said Capt. Mohamed Hussein of the Somali police. The attack happened near the fortified presidential palace, considered one of the safest places in Mogadishu, he said. Heyd and the bodyguard were killed, and the other two were injured, he said.

The Islamic extremist group al-Shabab, which frequently carries out deadly assaults in Mogadishu, claimed responsibility for the attack. Al-Shabab is increasingly targeting lawmakers at a time when the country's parliament is emerging as a pillar of democracy in the Horn of Africa nation.

Heyd is the third lawmaker killed in attacks this year.

Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed condemned the attack, saying in a statement that such a "criminal act only promotes violence, distress and grief in our community."

Al-Shabab militants have previously carried out attacks against United Nations staff, government officials, African Union peacekeepers and last year on an upscale mall in Nairobi, the capital of neighboring Kenya which has sent troops into Somalia to battle al-Shabab.

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