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Bomb Explodes Outside Somali Presidency

Two large explosions in Somalia’s capital city Mogadishu have killed at least 18 people and injured dozens.

One attack took place at the gates of the presidential palace, while a second hit near offices of the national intelligence agency.

Officials say five of the attackers were shot and killed.

The Islamist militant group al-Shabab, which opposes Somalia’s UN-backed government, says it carried out the attacks.

The attack on the palace began when militants failed to stop at a checkpoint, resulting in an exchange of gunfire, state-owned media say.

Then a parked car blew up near a hotel, security officials say.

However, al-Shabab said it had targeted “a national security forces’ base”.

A spokesman for the group said both car bombs had involved suicide bombers.

The group said the attacks had killed 15 soldiers, without providing any evidence.

A police spokesman told Reuters news agency: “There were many military soldiers who guarded the street adjacent to the palace.”

The attacks came a day after the security minister warned of a possible car bomb attack in Mogadishu, Somalia’s Radio Simba reports.

They are the latest in a series of high-profile incidents attributed to al-Shabab, which once controlled Mogadishu before being forced out by African Union troops in 2011.

In October last year, more than 500 people were killed by a truck bomb in the city.

Officials blamed al-Shabab for the bombing but the group never said it was behind the attack.

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