Somalia’s Islamist Shebab rebels launched a major bomb attack and armed assault against the country’s presidential palace late Tuesday, penetrating the heavily-fortified complex and fighting a major gunbattle with security guards.
Security sources said Somalia’s internationally-backed President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, was unharmed and safe with guards from the African Union’s 22,000-strong AMISOM force.
A Shebab spokesman said the Al-Qaeda-linked group was behind the attack, and claim their commandos had managed to seize the president’s office inside the presidential compound known as the Villa Somalia.
Witnesses said there was heavy gunfire and several blasts believed to be from grenades.
The attack appeared to be a repeat of a Shebab assault against the presidential palace in February. In May the Islamist insurgents also launched a similar attack against the national parliament.