Militants have carried out a multi-pronged, complex attack against Somalia’s parliament building, involving a car bomb, suicide bomber and gunmen on foot, police said.
At least seven people were killed, including six attackers and one soldier who tried to stopped a suicide bomber from entering the building in the capital, Mogadishu, said police Captain Mohamed Hussein.
Many members of parliament were inside the building as the attack unfolded, and they made a mad scramble to flee. Two were wounded by gunfire, said legislator Mohamed Ali.
Inside the parliament building was left in chaos, with metal chairs overturned with bullet casings on top of some and bullet marks scarring the walls.
Parliamentarian Dahir Amin Jesow, who was debating Somalia’s development bank when the attack began, said he and his fellow legislators evacuated out of the back of the building as soon as the attack began.
The army failed to protect the legislators, one member of parliament said.
“The enemy can now access everywhere,” said visibly frightened legislator Mohamed Nor.
Bodies, apparently those of the attackers, could be seen lying near an entrance gate to the building.
Gunfire and two blasts rang out near the building long after the attack began and after police had confirmed six attackers’ deaths. Security forces shot and killed four men, Mr H ussein said. The two other attackers who died were the driver of the car bomb and the bomber on foot.
Al-Shabab, an al Qaida-linked group, has carried out several such complex attacks in Mogadishu, including on the city’s main court complex and attempts against the presidential palace. The group was kicked out of the capital in 2011 but still controls wide areas of southern Somalia.