Photo taken on May 24, 2014 shows a view of the blast site outside the Somali parliament in Mogadishu. At least 9 people were killed, 16 others injured after a suicide car bomb went off outside Somali parliament in Mogadishu followed by heavy exchanges of gunfire, police said. (Xinhua/Faisal Isse)
MOGADISHU, May 24 (Xinhua) -- At least 9 people were killed, 16 others injured after a suicide car bomb went off outside Somali parliament in Mogadishu followed by heavy exchanges of gunfire, police said.
"Our forces put down five attackers who tried to enter the parliament building where members were holding meeting. On our side we lost four security personnel and 16 others injured, mostly civilians," said police officer Mohaydeen Jama.
Witnesses said the car bomb sped into the gate before it exploded outside parliament building where lawmakers were holding meeting.
Local media reports said two MPs were slightly injured in the attack. Most of the Somali lawmakers immediately evacuated from the parliament following the explosion at the outside gate of the building. Nearly 140 of MP's were holding a meeting to discuss streamlining Somali's banking system when the attack happened.
Somali government officials described the attack on the parliament as "foiled" and pledged to strengthen security of the institutions.
The radical Islamist group of Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the latest attack on parliament.
Pro-radicist media said quoting insurgent commanders that the fighters from the militant Al-Shabaab group have attacked the parliament building claiming to have killed dozens of government soldiers and officers.
The Al-Qaeda-linked group has been driven out of much of south and center of Somalia but launch attacks in government controlled areas.
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The year "2014 is critical for Somalia. Time is short. I remain a firm optimist, but it is clear that the government and its international partners must make faster progress," Nicholas Kay, the UN secretary-general's special representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), said in a briefing to the UN Security Council. Full story