Mortar shells struck after Somalia celebrates reopening of stadium

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At least three mortar blasts sent sports fans in Somalia to take refuge Tuesday night, hours after Mogadishu Stadium reopened after years of instability.

Mortar shells struck in and around the stadium, said Police Col. Ahmed Muse. There was no immediate news of the casualties. The al-Shabab extremist group linked to al-Qaida often targets the city.

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The explosions occurred after Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed attended opening ceremonies that included a soccer match in the nearly empty stadium. He left before the shells hit.

A live television broadcast captured the sound of one of the explosions when an interviewer ducked down and rushed off camera.

The opening of the 35,000-seat stadium, complete with a grand ceremonial flame, was a symbol of efforts to rebuild Somalia after nearly three decades of conflict. The site had housed a base for the African Union peacekeeping force until late last year.

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