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article imageAl Shabab fighters storm presidential palace in Somalia

By Ken Hanly     Jul 8, 2014 in World
Mogadishu - Al-Shabab fighters stormed the presidential palace in the Somali capital Mogadishu. The Interior Ministry reported the the president Hassan Mohamud was not in the compound when the attack happened.
The prime minister and the speaker of the parliament were in the premises according to senior police official Captain Mohamed Hussein. He said the fighters were armed with grenades and split into groups once inside attempting to take control of different buildings within the compound. Hussein reported that the operation was still underway.
An official at the palace said: "The militants have partly entered the presidential palace compound. There is periodic gunfire now. I understand most attackers have been killed. No further details."Mohamed Abdi a police officer claimed the attack started when a car bomb exploded outside the presidential complex. Gunmen were then able to enter the palace compound.
Military operations spokesperson for Al-Shabab Sheikh Abu Musab said;"We have entered the so-called presidential palace. We have now captured some parts of the palace and fighting is still going on," This is the second attack on the palace this year but in the first the attackers were unable to get inside. The compound is protected both by government troops and African Union peacekeepers. The peacekeepers helped drive Al-Shabab out of their Mogadishu bases in 2011.
A later report claims that five fighters were killed in the attack. Although Al-Shabab had earlier claimed to have control of some areas within the compound Somali authorities said security forces are now in control of the area. Al-Shabab has been driven out of most major cities in Somalia but still control considerable territory in rural areas. They have launched attacks outside the country including an attack on a mall in Nairobi on September 21, 2013 that killed 67 people and wounded over 175. The group said that the attack was retribution for Kenyan military action in Somalia against them. The group has suffered from divisions within their ranks but is still a potent force.
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