Attack on Somalia's interior ministry kills at least nine

Al-Shabab claims responsibility for the attack, in which more than a dozen others were injured.

    At least nine people have been killed and more than a dozen others wounded in an attack on Somalia's interior ministry in the capital, Mogadishu.

    Police Captain Mohamed Hussein said the attack began on Saturday morning when a suicide car bomber detonated his explosives at the gate of the interior ministry, located close to the presidential palace and the headquarters of parliament. Another blast went off outside a police station nearby. 

    A two-hour gun battle ensued, in which all three attackers were killed by security forces, police said. 

    Al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda-linked armed group, claimed responsibility for the attack.

    A number of people, mostly government workers, were trapped in the ministry on what had been a normal business day. Witnesses said some staffers died or were injured while leaping from windows or walls in an effort to escape.

    Dozens of people eventually were rescued in the operation, Hussein said, as ambulance sirens echoed. 

    {articleGUID}

    Al-Shabab often targets high-profile areas of the capital. It was blamed for the October truck bombing that killed more than 500 people in the deadliest attack in the country's history. 

    The group is fighting to overthrow Somalia's central government and establish its own rule based on its interpretation of Islamic law in the Horn of Africa country.

    At one point, the group controlled most parts of the country, but since 2010, its fighters have been removed from most major towns and cities.

    The US military and others in the international community have expressed concern about the plan for Somalia's security forces to take over the country's security from a multinational African Union force over the next few years, saying the local troops are not yet ready.

    Can drone strikes defeat al-Shabab?

    UpFront

    Can drone strikes defeat al-Shabab?

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.