Somalia Attack: Al-Shabab Reportedly Storms Presidential Palace In Mogadishu As Gunfire Erupts

Al-Shabab
Members of Somalia's al-Shabab militant group parade during a demonstration to announce their integration with al Qaeda, in Elasha, south of the capital Mogadishu February 13, 2012. Reuters

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

UPDATE 3:28 p.m. EDT: Somlia's government said the presidential compound is now secure, according to the AP.

UPDATE 2:15 p.m. EDT: The Somali president was not in the presidential palace at the time of the attack, according to the BBC, which said there were conflicting reports as to whether the siege was over.

UPDATE 1:50 p.m. EDT: Nine people were killed in the attack on the Somali presidential palace in Mogadishu, a security source told AFP.

"There were at least nine attackers, all have been killed, and the situation is under control, the attack is over," said the official, Abdi Ahmed. "There were eight blasts towards the end of the fighting, believed to have been suicide vests. They detonated themselves."

UPDATE 1:27 p.m. EDT: Al-Shabab formally claimed responsibility for the attack.

"Our commandos are inside the so-called presidential office," a spokesman for the group told Agence France-Presse. "We are in control of the headquarters of the apostate regime."

UPDATE 1:21 p.m. EDT: Somali security forces are now in control of the presidential palace in Mogadishu, the country's interior minister told Reuters.

Original story:

A Somali terror group with ties to al-Qaeda reportedly stormed the presidential palace in Mogadishu on Tuesday and took over the offices of the prime minister and finance minister.

The BBC reported that explosion and gunfire were heard in the presidential palace, while Voice of America journalist Harun Maruf tweeted that gunmen with al-Shabab, al-Qaeda’s arm in Somalia, entered the presidential palace. Marug also reported gunfire and explosions near the Djibouti embassy in Mogadishu.

 

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