By Feisal Omar
MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Somali militants al Shabaab detonated a car bomb in the capital Mogadishu on Saturday, injuring two police officers, police and a spokesman for the Islamists said.
The al Qaeda-affiliated group was pushed out of Mogadishu by African peacekeeping forces in 2011 but has waged a series of gun and grenade attacks to try to overthrow the government and impose its strict version of sharia law.
Somalia is trying to rebuild after two decades of civil war and lawlessness, but persistent attacks in the capital have complicated that effort. The fragile government is being backed by international aid aimed at preventing it from becoming a haven for al Qaeda-style militants in East Africa.
Somali police said the attackers had remotely exploded a car and then escaped. Two policemen were injured but there were no known fatalities.
A spokesman for al Shabaab said the group had targeted Somali police.
"The car bomb targeted the police. We played a prank on them," Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab's military operations spokesman told Reuters. "The car deliberately sped as it came to a police checkpoint. The police took the car and then we remotely detonated it. The car was full of explosives."
(Editing by Edith Honan)