18 dead in Shabaab attack on Somali Parly

2014-05-24 16:11
Al-Shabaab. (AFP)

Al-Shabaab. (AFP)

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Mogadishu - More than 18 people were killed Saturday in an attack by radical Islamist group al-Shabaab on the Somali parliament, security officials said.

The fatalities included eight al-Shabaab fighters and members of the Somali security forces. Many more people were injured, including three Somali lawmakers.

 The attack began with a suicide car bombing outside parliament. Insurgents dressed in Somali military uniform then shot at guards to enter the building.

A second explosion was also heard. The attack occurred while lawmakers were meeting. "A huge explosion shook the building and I thought it had been demolished.

Then fierce fighting erupted between security forces and the attackers," lawmaker Dahir Amiin Jeesow told dpa.

Lots of smoke

The legislators were evacuated through another gate by Somali security forces and African Union peacekeepers.

"We saw lots of smoke coming from around the area of the hall as we were evacuating from there. Some members of the security forces and attackers were lying in pools of blood," another lawmaker, who asked not to be identified, told dpa.

 Officials said security forces cleared the militants from the hall. Some blew themselves up. "We are going to secure the building and the whole area," security official Mohamed Hassan told dpa.

Al-Shabaab claimed the attack on Twitter. The government made no immediate comment. The Somali government has been battling al-Shabaab for years.

 It is backed by African Union troops. Al-Shabaab attacked the presidential palace in February, killing at least 12 people.
Read more on:    al-shabaab  |  somalia  |  east africa

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