Somalia's al Shabaab stormed a government building yesterday, detonating a suicide car bomb in the heart of the capital Mogadishu with at least 15 people, including an assistant minister, killed during the ensuing gun battle.
In the latest bombing claimed by al Shabaab, an Islamist group which is fighting to establish its own rule in Somalia, based on a strict interpretation of sharia law, a huge explosion shook central Mogadishu and a large plume of smoke rose above a building housing Somalia's ministries of labour and works.
Police later said the fighting at the building had ended and that the premises had been completely secured.
"The building was secured by security forces. The four militants who attacked the building were shot dead. Another militant was a suicide car bomber and so he also died," Major Ali Abdullahi, a police officer told Reuters.
Abdullahi said ten people, including assistant labour minister Saqar Ibrahim Abdala and police personnel, had died.
Police said earlier that some 20 people had been injured in the assault, which began when a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb, allowing other militants to storm the building.
In a separate assault, al Shabaab had exploded a roadside bomb at a security checkpoint in Mogadishu that killed three government soldiers and also injured a local lawmaker and three of his bodyguards.