Heavily armed militants carried out a major bomb attack and armed assault against Somalia’s heavily-fortified presidential palace today.
The attack bore all the hallmarks of Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab rebels, who have carried out a string of strikes against the country’s internationally-backed but fragile government. Witnesses said there was heavy gunfire and several heavy blasts believed to be grenades.
The attack appeared to be a repeat of an al-Shabaab assault against the presidential palace in February. In May the Islamist insurgents also launched a similar attack against the national parliament.
The attacks have targeted key areas of government, or the security forces, in a bid to discredit claims by the authorities that they are winning the war against the Islamist fighters.
Somali Leader Fires Police, Intelligence Chiefs
Somalia’s government fired the police and intelligence chiefs a day after Islamic militants attacked the heavily guarded presidential palace in the capital, Mogadishu, the information minister announced Wednesday.
Government troops and African Union peacekeepers repelled the attack and no government official was hurt, Mustafa Dhuhulow said. Three of the four extremist attackers were shot dead by soldiers after they forced their way into the presidential palace late Tuesday, sparking an exchange of gunfire, he said. The fourth militant was wounded.