Somali Troops Retake Presidential Palace
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Somali troops retook the presidential palace in the capital Mogadishu after al-Shabab fighters forced their way in and exchanged heavy gunfire with soldiers and guards.
Loud explosions and gunfire could be heard as troops tried to repel the intruders on Tuesday evening, Al Jazeera reported.
After more than two hours of fighting, Somalia's presidency said on Twitter that "the shameful attack" had been foiled by Somalia's armed forces fighting alongside African Union peacekeepers.
Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was not inside the palace at the time of the attack, but the prime minister and the speaker of parliament were, said Captain Mohamed Hussein, a senior police official.
The presidency said both President Mohamud and Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed were safe.
Tuesday's attack started when a car bomb exploded outside the presidential compound. Gunmen then entered the palace, police officer Mohamed Abdi told AP.
Police said the fighters, who were armed with grenades, split up into groups once inside and tried to take control of different buildings in the compound.
The presidential compound, which also houses several government offices, has been the subject of many attacks by al-Qaeda-linked fighters over the years.
It is considered one of the safest places in Mogadishu because of the tight security presence.
The presidency said that the compound has since been secured, but gave no details about any casualties or what happened to the intruders.