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Students among 23 killed in Somalia bombings

By Tiffany Ap, Omar Nor and Holly Yan CNN

MOGADISHU, Somalia (CNN) -- A pair of suicide car bombings struck a government building in Somalia on Sunday, killing 23 people, authorities said.

Many of the fatalities are students and local traders who were at a nearby school and market in the town of Galkayo, police said.

One bomber rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into the main gate of the building, killing several people, local police Capt. Abdi Hassan said.

Minutes later, as people gathered to help the wounded, a second car bomb exploded.

The terror group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, which targeted a government compound housing administrative offices, police said.

Northern Galkayo is under the control of Puntland, a semi-autonomous state in northeast Somalia.

Troubling trend

The attack follows a similar pattern of bombings in the country also claimed by Al-Shabaab, which wants to turn Somalia into an Islamist state.

In late July, six people died after double suicide car bombs exploded in Mogadishu.

Just days prior, suicide bombers detonated two vehicles laden with explosives near the capital's Aden Adde International Airport, killing at least 12.

In June, the group also claimed separate attacks on two hotels popular with Somali politicians, which left more than two dozen people dead.

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