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Suicide bomber kills Somalia's security minister

Minister was fighting Islamist insurgents outside Mogadishu

A suicide car bomber killed Somalia's security minister in his hotel in the central town of Baladwayne on Thursday, Al Arabiya TV reported.

The pan-Arab news channel reported that Security Minister Omar Hashi Aden was killed but Reuters news agency quoted a ministry official in Baladwayne as saying Aden had survived the strike.

Mohamed Abdi, a shopkeeper near the hotel, said smoke was rising from the building, government forces started shooting after the blast and body parts were scattered in the street.

Aden moved to Baladwayne at the start of June with heavily-armed troops in a bid to recapture more territory from hardline Islamist insurgents outside Mogadishu.

Islamist group al-Shabaab, which Washington says has links to al-Qaeda and has hundreds of foreign fighters in its ranks, has been spearheading attacks on government forces.

A senior al-Shabaab official said after a deadly suicide car bomb attack on a police headquarters in the capital on May 25 that there would be more suicide strikes in the coming days.