Somalia's Shabaab kill 18 police in academy bombing

At least 15 other people were wounded, officials said.

According to Capt. Mohamed Hussein, the bomber, with the explosives strapped around his chest and waist, ran into the Kahiye Police Academy straight to the officers who were gathering for the morning exercise.

The militant Islamist group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming 27 police officers were killed. Al-Shabaab carries out frequent bombings in Mogadishu and other towns.

"It was martyrdom operation, in which the mujahedeen targeted the police academy camp", a statement posted on a pro-Shabaab website read.

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The attack comes barely two months after the militants stormed Nasa Hablood II hotel in the city centre killing more than 25 people.

The U.S. military has carried out at least 30 airstrikes this year against the Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab and a small but growing presence of fighters linked to the Islamic State group.

This includes partnering with the African Union Mission and Somali National Security Forces to target "terrorists, their training camps, and their safe havens throughout Somalia and the region".

The increase in U.S. raids comes as AMISOM, the AU's mission in Somalia, prepares to withdraw 1,000 troops from its 22,000-strong force, as part of plans to pull out all soldiers by December 2020.

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