Gunmen stormed a government building in Somalia's capital after a suicide vehicle bombing on Saturday, killing at least 15 people including the country's deputy labour minister, police said, in the latest attack by Al Shabab militants in the Horn of Africa nation. Police say the dead include a member of cabinet.
Al-Shabab, which is fighting to establish its own rule based on a strict interpretation of Sharia law, claimed responsibility for the attack and said one of its fighters had rammed the ministry building with a vehicle bomb, allowing others to enter it.
Residents as far away as 20 kilometers outside the capital said they could hear the blast.
Gunfight between Somalia security forces and militants in the capital Mogadishu have ended, and the death toll rose to 15, according to police reports.
In October 2017 a truck bombing in a busy neighbourhood of the capital killed over 500 people, the deadliest attack in Somalia to date.
The militants first staged a suicide vehicle bomb attack and then stormed into the ministry offices. That attack also began with a pair of vehicle bombs exploding in a popular area of Mogadishu where Somalis were relaxing at restaurants.
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"Al-Shabab stormed the building where two ministries, including the Ministry of Labour, work".
The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab, Africa's most active Islamic extremist group, has been fighting for years to take power and create an Islamic state in the Horn of Africa nation.
The group continues to mount lethal attacks despite being pushed out of Mogadishu.
But it remains a threat, with its fighters frequently carrying out bombings in Somalia and neighbouring Kenya, whose troops form part of the African Union mandated peacekeeping force AMISOM that helps defend Somalia's central government.
Al-Shabab emerged in Somalia in 2006 and has claimed numerous terrorist attacks throughout the region.
The US military has carried out a number of deadly airstrikes in recent months against al-Shabab.