At least ten people have been killed in a twin car-bombing followed by a gun attack on the heavily guarded police headquarters in Somali capital Mogadishu, police and eyewitnesses said on Sunday.
Police Capt. Mohamed Hussein Ali said at least 10 people including four militants, five civilians and a soldier died in the attack.
Another 15 people were injured, some seriously, he added.
“Security forces foiled the assault and shot dead the gunmen who tried to storm the heavily fortified facility,” said Ali Hassan, a police officer at the Central Investigations Department.
— Farhan Jimale (@farhanjimale) July 31, 2016
Heavy gunfire rang out inside for about half an hour after at least two gunmen on foot fought their way inside following the first blast, said witnesses.
The bodies of four civilians lay in the street near the compound which was partially destroyed. A kiosk near the wall caught fire.
Al Shabab, an Al Qaeda-affiliated militant group active in Somalia, claimed responsibility for the attack.
The group's military operations spokesman, Abdiasis Abu Musab, said suicide bombers rammed two explosives-laden cars into the gates of the Criminal Investigation Department, or CID.
Militants launch car bomb, gun attack on Somali police base, ten dead #mogadishu
— Weblogy.de (@weblogyhamburg) July 31, 2016
Two gunmen then entered the building following the bombings but were shot dead by the security forces.
It is the second terrorist attack to hit Mogadishu in less than a week.
Last Tuesday, the group also claimed responsibility for bombings near a United Nations demining agency office and the African Union's main base.
Authorities said the attack killed 13 people.
The UN-backed Somali government has been fighting the group and 2011 drove the militants out of the major cities including Mogadishu. Al Shabab has been striking back to reassert its influence.
Security analysts had warned that the group could step up its attacks, taking advantage of the distraction caused by campaigning for a presidential election due in August.