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Al Shabaab claims deadly attack on Somalia’s parliament

© AFP file picture

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-05-24

Somali militant group al Shabaab claimed responsibility for a complex attack on parliament in Mogadishu Saturday, which killed at least seven people, including the attackers.

The multi-pronged attack, which took place while parliamentarians were inside the building, involved a car bomb, suicide bomber and gunmen on foot, according to police officials.

Shortly after midday local time on Saturday, a car bomb exploded outside the gates of parliament, followed by another blast and bursts of gunfire.

The attackers then attempted to storm the parliament building as Somali police joined by African Union troops engaged the attackers.

A Somali police official told the Associated Press that six attackers had been killed, including four men who were shot by security forces. The two other attackers who died were the driver of the car bomb and the bomber on foot. The other casualty is believed a Somali security official.

Shortly after the attack, the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group claimed responsibility for the assault. "We are behind the suicide bombing, explosions and the fighting inside the so-called Somali parliament house, and still heavy fighting is going on inside," said Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab's spokesman for military operations, in a phone call with Reuters.

Remnants of panic and chaos

Journalists on the scene hours after the attack started said there were remnants of panic and chaos inside the building with metal chairs lying overturned with bullet casings on top of some and bullet marks on the walls.

Since being ousted from Mogadishu, al Shabaab has intensified its attacks in Somalia and in neighbouring Kenya, which sent troops across the border to fight the Islamists.

In September, the group killed 67 people in the Westgate shopping mall in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.

Earlier this year, at least 11 people were killed when al Shabaab militants attacked the heavily guarded Somali presidential compound in Mogadishu.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, REUTERS)

Date created : 2014-05-24

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