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Blast in eastern Kenya wounds 11 -police

Source: Reuters - Tue, 20 May 2014 20:50 GMT
Author: Reuters
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By Humphrey Malalo

NAIROBI, May 20 (Reuters) - A suspected grenade blast near a mosque wounded 11 people in the eastern Kenyan town of Garissa on Tuesday, close to the border with Somalia, police and disaster officials said.

The attack happened a day after suspected Somalia al Shabaab militants killed at least 12 people in northern Kenya's Mandera County in an ambush.

Kenyan warplanes have been targeting al Shabaab positions in Somalia over the past days, as the country pursues the militants who have carried out a series of gun, bomb and grenade attacks on its territory. It sent in troops in 2011.

Police spokesman Masoud Mwinyi said one of the 11 wounded was in a serious condition but the rest were out of danger. A second grenade failed to detonate, he said.

The government-run National Disaster Operations Centre said on its Twitter feed the blast occurred near a mosque and that three suspects had been arrested.

Neither explicitly said al Shabaab was to blame, but suspicion is likely to fall on the al Qaeda linked Islamist group.

While al Shabaab has not claimed the most recent series of attacks, the fear of more has led to Britain, the United States and other Western governments to warn holidaymakers against visiting Kenya.

On Sunday, Kenya said its warplanes had hit an explosives-making compound, some 300 km southwest of the Somalia capital Mogadishu, two days after explosions at a market in Nairobi left at least 12 people dead.

On Tuesday, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said on its Twitter feed that another air strike in the same region had killed more than 50 al Shabaab fighters.

Al Shabaab's spokesman for military operations, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, told Reuters the attacks wounded six.

Al Shabaab killed at least 67 people in a gun and grenade raid on a Nairobi shopping mall last September, claiming it as revenge for attacks on its fighters by Kenyan troops in Somalia. (Additional reporting by George Obulutsa in Nairobi, Noor Ali in Isiolo, Abdi Sheikh and Feisal Omar in Mogadishu; Writing George Obulutsa; Editing by Alison Williams)

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