MOGADISHU (AFP) - At least 22 civilians were killed Saturday in Mogadishu by a suicide car bomb targeting African Union peacekeepers and the ensuing gunfight, an official and medics said. The explosives-laden car was heading to a control point manned by the AU forces in Mogadishu's southern K4 intersection when a policeman opened fire at the vehicle which then rammed into a passenger bus. Somali police chief Abdi Hassan Qeybdiid said the death toll from the explosion rose to 17 after three more people died of their wounds. Earlier, Mogadishu's deputy governor Abdifatah Ibrahim Shaweye said 14 civilians died in the blast. Five civilians were also killed and 23 wounded in gunbattles between the peacekeepers and insurgents after the explosion, a doctor said. "We collected five bodies and (admitted) 23 people injured during the fighting," said Ali Muse of the Mogadishu hospital. Shaweye said the suicide bomber was a foreigner after an arm was retrieved from the car wreckage. "We have one of his arms which is clearly showing that the suicide bomber was a foreigner," said Shaweye, referring to the bomber's pale skin. Witness Ali Hasan Molaim said: "I saw the car pass by the bus I was boarding and it was heading towards the Ugandan forces, but some Somali policemen intercepted it and the car exploded destroying another bus." "There was heavy explosion and clouds of smoke," he added. AU Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra condemned the attack, the latest against the AU force known as AMISOM. "We condemn this attack. A cowardly terrorist act that goes against achieving peace and stability in Somalia," Lamamra told AFP. "There was an AMISOM truck in the area during the blast but so far there isn't any casualty on our side." Nine AMISOM troops have been killed in Somalia since the first Ugandan contingent was deployed in March 2007. The Ugandans were reinforced by Burundian contingents in 2008. The AU forces, comprising 3,400 soldiers, have often been targeted by the insurgents since deploying to the war-wracked Somali capital. Ethiopia, which sent troops into Somalia in late 2006 to prop up a weak transitional government against an movement, pulled out of Mogadishu earlier this month. Their withdrawal had been one of the main demands of the country opposition, but hardline militias have vowed to continue fighting against government forces and African peacekeepers. The Ethiopian forces' pullout has also created a security vacuum drawing clan-based militias and warlords into a scramble for control over the capital's various districts.