Several people have been killed after suicide bombers and gunmen attacked a police building in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. It is the second major operation in the city this week to be claimed by al-Shabab militants.
Two militants rammed explosive-laden cars into the gates of Somalia's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headquarters as five gunmen tried to storm inside, police said Sunday.
Thirteen people were killed, among them seven al-Shabab militants, Security Minister Abdirisak Omar Mohamed said. Five police were among the 20 people wounded.
Witnesses in central Mogadishu said they heard loud explosions followed by half an hour of gunfire.
"I saw a vehicle driving into the gates of the Criminal Investigation Department at a high speed, and then a huge blast went off," witness Mohamed Abdi said.
Islamist extremist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, which is used to interrogate and sometimes hold suspected militants.
It is the second major strike by the terror group this week. On Tuesday, the militants carried out twin car bombings near the African Union's main peacekeepers' base, killing 13 people.
Despite being pushed out of the capital in 2011, al-Shabab has continued to wage a violent campaign to overthrow the country's UN-backed government. The group's goal is to establish an Islamic emirate and impose its strict version of Shariah law in the Horn of Africa.
More than 22,000 peacekeepers from a multinational African Union force are currently stationed in Somalia. Al-Shabab, which also opposes the presence of foreign troops, has launched a number of attacks on countries like Kenya and Uganda that have contributed soldiers to the force.
nm/jlw (Reuters, AFP, dpa)