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3 car bombs explode in Somalia, killing eight

A veiled woman and two other suicide bombers exploded cars outside the base of Somalia's weak government Thursday, killing eight people after Ethiopia took another step toward war with its Islamic rivals in the country.

Somalia's interim government blamed foreign al-Qaida fighters for the attack, which was believed to be only the second suicide bombing ever in the country.

The attack had the hallmarks of an al-Qaida operation. Suicide bombings carried out by multiple attackers have been widely used by Islamic extremists in Iraq and Afghanistan, and terror leader Osama bin Laden has declared Somalia a battleground in his war against the West.

Deputy Defense Minister Salad Ali Jelle said the bombers detonated their explosives as police tried to inspect their vehicles at a government checkpoint outside Baidoa, the only town the government controls.

Jelle said the dead included two policemen, as well as the three drivers and three accomplices. He said there were non-Somalis among the dead, whom he called "al-Qaida supporters." Four civilians were wounded.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack. The Islamic movement that controls most of southern Somalia denied it was behind the bombing.

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