SHAFAQNA –A mortar attack on the Somali presidential palace in the capital, Mogadishu, has claimed the life of a security guard.“At least four rounds of mortar shells struck the parking area and a guard was killed in the attack,” said Abdurrahman Mohamed, a Somali security official, on Thursday. Reports said the offensive targeted the residential area where the country’s president, prime minister and parliament speaker live.
“Shrapnel destroyed the windows of several cars in the parking area, and I saw one person who was lightly injured,” Mohamud Hassan, a witness, stated. No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the incident, but the Somali government blames attacks of that type on al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group. Last week, the al-Shabab militants launched an attack against a hotel in Mogadishu, killing more than two dozen people including the city’s deputy mayor, Iman Icar. Deputy Prime Minister Mohamed Omar Arte and Minister for Transport and Civil Aviation Mohamed Hussein Ishaq were injured.
Al-Shabab justifies its attacks on Somali officials and legislators by arguing that the government allowed the deployment of foreign troops in the country. Somalia has been the scene of deadly clashes between government forces and al-Shabab since 2006. The militants have been pushed out of Mogadishu and other major cities by government forces and the African Union Mission in Somalia, which is largely made up of troops from Ethiopia, Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Sierra Leone, and Kenya.