MOGADISHU – At least 20 people were killed and 25 others wounded Friday in a pair of car-bombings in the Somali capital targeting the presidential palace and the intelligence service, first responders said.
“The attacks have left a multitude dead. We have counted 20 bodies so far and several wounded, but (the number) could rise,” medic Mohamed Absir told EFE.
A car packed with explosives was detonated at the main gate of Villa Somalia and a second vehicle carrying members of the Islamist terror group al-Shabaab tried to enter the presidential compound, intelligence official Ali Shariif said.
The palace security detail stopped the second car, killing one attacker and capturing another, according to preliminary reports.
The other explosion, outside National Intelligence and Security Agency headquarters, was apparently aimed at preventing government forces from responding to the attack on Villa Somalia.
An al-Shabaab strike last October using truck bombs claimed 512 lives.
The group, which aims to establish a theocracy under strict Islamic law, controls parts of central and southern Somalia.
Analysts here say al-Shabaab appears to have been emboldened by signs of tension between the Somali government and the military.