Bomb explodes outside Somali presidency

The attack was claimed by Islamist militants[/caption] Two large explosions in Somalia’s capital city Mogadishu have killed at least 18 people and injured dozens. One attack took place at the gates of the presidential palace, while a second hit near offices of the national intelligence agency. Officials say five of the attackers were shot and killed. The Islamist militant group al-Shabab, which opposes Somalia’s UN-backed government, says it carried out the attacks. The attack on the palace began when militants failed to stop at a checkpoint, resulting in an exchange of gunfire, state-owned media say. Then a parked car blew up near a hotel, security officials say. However, al-Shabab said it had targeted “a national security forces’ base”. A spokesman for the group said both car bombs had involved suicide bombers. The group said the attacks had killed 15 soldiers, without providing any evidence. A police spokesman told Reuters news agency: “There were many military soldiers who guarded the street adjacent to the palace.” The attacks came a day after the security minister warned of a possible car bomb attack in Mogadishu, Somalia’s Radio Simba reports. They are the latest in a series of high-profile incidents attributed to al-Shabab, which once controlled Mogadishu before being forced out by African Union troops in 2011. In October last year, more than 500 people were killed by a truck bomb in the city. Officials blamed al-Shabab for the bombing but the group never said it was behind the attack. Source: BBC]]>

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