Fourteen people were killed when militants bombed and stormed a government ministry in the centre of the Somali capital Mogadishu yesterday.
Twin suicide bombs targeted the Interior and Security Ministry’s compound, police officer Ahmed Bashane said.
One suicide car bomber rammed into the entrance of the building, while another hit a security checkpoint outside.
Three civilians were killed and 18 others were wounded, Bashane said. The ministry is close to the parliament building.
The majority of the victims were civil servants, Information Minister Dahir Mohamud Gelle told state-run Radio Mogadishu.
At least two security officers were killed, while five militants died in the attack, most shot by security forces, security official Mohamed Hassan said.
Between four and five attackers armed with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns were in a stand-off with police outside the building.
Explosions were also heard from inside the building as militants stormed in, police said.
The Al Qaeda-linked Al Shebaab militant group claimed responsibility for the bombings. The group said on its Andalus radio station that its fighters stormed the ministry.
Security forces sealed off the area, blocking all roads leading to the scene. One witness said he saw paramedics treating the wounded.
Al Shebaab, which controls large areas in central and south Somalia, regularly launches attacks on government buildings and upmarket hotels in Mogadishu.
In a separate incident yesterday, a roadside bomb killed a former district commissioner in the Lower Shabelle region and wounded three others, according to police.
Al Shebaab also claimed responsibility for that attack.
Somalia has been gripped by violence and lawlessness since the toppling of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in the early 1990s.