Somlia’s al-Shabab rebels have launched a major attack on the national parliament, setting off a car bomb and penetrating the building with suicide commandos.
A huge car bomb went off outside the gates of the parliament in central Mogadishu shortly before midday local time, and a string of smaller blasts followed by intense gunfire were also heard coming from inside the complex.
Police said at least four attackers were killed, and AFP reporters at the scene also counted four dead security guards, adding that a number people had also been wounded.
Exchanges of gunfire could still be heard coming from inside the building more than an hour after the attack started.
The parliament attack appeared to be a repeat of an assault on February against the heavily-fortified presidential palace, which saw a car bomb go off at the gates of the Villa Somalia followed by an attack by suicide gunmen which left at least 16 dead including the attackers.
In that attack, the Shebab gunmen were dressed in police and military uniforms. [AFP]