Somalia’s al-Qa’ida-linked al-Shabaab insurgents have claimed responsibility for a multifaceted attack against the country's parliament building, involving a car bomb, suicide bomber and gunmen on foot.
A compound housing parliament in the capital of Mogadishu was targeted on Saturday - several people were killed, including police officers.
“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,” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabaab's spokesman for military operations, told Reuters.
Gunfire was heard after the blasts inside the parliament compound, a Reuters witness said. He saw four bodies at the site.
“Two explosions went off inside the Somali parliament house compound,” said police officer Major Nur Ali.
Some members of parliament were inside the building at the time, one lawmaker said. Gunfire was also heard from a mosque opposite.
Colonel Farah Hussein, a senior police officer, told Reuters that the blasts had killed four police officers.
“The lawmakers and the other workers were rescued as soon as the car bomb exploded. But the terrorists are still firing from inside a mosque nearby,” he added.
A lawmaker said some of his colleagues were in the compound.
“I am now in the town but I know some of my colleagues are having talks inside the house,” the lawmaker, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters.
Mogadishu has been hit by a series of suicide bomb attacks claimed by al-Shabaab militants, who were pushed out of the capital about two years ago and have waged a sustained guerrilla campaign since then.
Additional reporting by agencies