UK & World News

  • 8 July 2014, 20:56

Al Shabaab Militants Attack Somali Palace

At least nine al Shabaab militants have been killed during a raid on the presidential palace in the Somali capital Mogadishu.

Security officials say the al Qaeda-linked fighters penetrated the palace compound after launching a major bomb attack and an armed assault.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was unharmed during the raid.

"There were at least nine attackers. All have been killed, and the situation is under control. The attack is over," security official Abdi Ahmed said.

"There were eight blasts towards the end of the fighting, believed to have been suicide vests. They detonated themselves."

But a spokesman for al Shabaab refuted claims the raid was over, saying the militants had managed to enter the president's office.

"Our commandos are inside the so-called presidential office," spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab said.

"We are in control of the headquarters of the apostate regime. The enemy suffered high casualties during the operation, which is ongoing.

"The assault is a victory for us since the foreign installed government said that security was beefed up."

Witnesses said there was heavy gunfire and several blasts, believed to be from grenades.

The attack appears to be a repeat of an al Shabaab assault against the presidential palace in February.

In May the Islamist insurgents also launched a similar attack against the national parliament.