Two blasts hit Somalia's security ministry
At least five people were killed when two explosions rocked Somalia's internal security ministry in the capital Mogadishu on Saturday morning, authorities said, in the latest attack claimed by Shabaab militants.
"There were two blasts targeting the internal security compound near parliament," said Ibrahim Mohamed, a police commander, adding gunfire was continuing after the initial explosions.
"We have confirmed five dead and more than ten wounded," he said, adding that four militants had also been killed.
Another security official said the attackers included a suicide bomber and three gunmen.
In a statement posted on a jihadist website, the al-Qaeda aligned Shabaab militant group claimed responsibility.
The Shabaab has been fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu for over a decade.
Despite losing towns and territory in recent years the group continues to carry out regular bombings and armed raids on government, security and civilian targets in the capital and elsewhere.
In June, an American commando was killed in an attack in southern Somalia that also wounded four US military personnel along with a Somali soldier, officials said.
The attack occurred in Jubaland, where a large force comprising about 800 Somali, Kenyan and US troops were working to clear a large area of al-Qaeda-aligned al-Shabaab fighters.
A month earlier, a UN-backed peacekeeping mission in Somalia received unanimous Security Council backing until July 31.
The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), with about 21,600 troops, operates with the approval of the UN and relies on international funding.
In its resolution, the Security Council recalled that it authorised the African Union to reduce AMISOM to roughly 20,600 personnel by October 30, after 1,000 troops were pulled out last year.
There are plans for a full withdrawal of foreign troops by December 2020, but heads of state and ministers from the main troop contributors - including Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda - in March warned the timeframe for the drawdown was "not realistic and would lead to a reversal of the gains made by AMISOM."
The mission was deployed in 2007 to defend the internationally-backed government against attacks by the Shabaab, a Somali-led al-Qaeda affiliate.
The Shabaab was blamed for the country's worst ever attack, in which a truck bombing left more than 500 dead in October last year.
Experts describe the bloated and largely ineffective Somali army as a collection of clan militias, with various international militaries providing poorly-coordinated training to different units.
Al-Shabab lost its foothold in Mogadishu in 2011 but has continued its fight.