"This is the second attack by Islamist militants on the Somali presidential palace in Mogadishu. In February, heavily armed fighters launched a similar attack on the state house."
Mogadishu, July 9 - Four people, including three militants, were killed in an overnight attack on the presidential palace in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, government sources said Wednesday.

Somali Minister of Information Mustaf Sheikh Ali Duhulow said four militants tried to penetrate an office complex that houses various ministries but were quickly halted by Somali security forces and African Union peacekeepers.

The attackers carried out a car bomb explosion and opened fire during the assault, Xinhua reported. Islamist militants claimed responsibility for the attack.

Three of the attackers and one government soldier were killed in the overnight attack. One more gunman was apprehended and is being questioned, Duhulow told reporters.

The minister said another government soldier was injured in the attack which he described as failed and that none of the top government leaders were harmed.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud and Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed were not at the presidential palace at the time of the attack, he added.

Duhulow said bomb disposal experts rendered safe a number of devices, including a suicide vest that one attacker was wearing that had failed to detonate.

The minister promised that a thorough investigation will be launched and the government would share the results of the investigation with the public.

The bodies of the three militants in military uniforms and the wreckage of the car bomb that went off in the presidential palace complex were shown to the media early Wednesday.

This is the second attack by Islamist militants on the Somali presidential palace in Mogadishu. In February, heavily armed fighters launched a similar attack on the state house.

Al Shabaab, an Al Qaeda-linked Islamist group, had vowed to increase its attacks on Somali government targets and the African Union peacekeeping forces in Somalia during the ongoing Muslim holy month of Ramadan.


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