7 killed as blasts strike Somali capital

Mogadishu: At least seven people were killed and several others injured on Saturday in two explosions near the presidential palace in Mogadishu, police officials said.

A car packed with explosives blew up at around midday near the main entrance to the Villa Somalia, the official residence of Somalian President Mohamed Abdullahi, Efe news reported.

The first blast was followed by a shootout between alleged members of Somali militant group al-Shabab, which has claimed responsibility for the attack, and members of the security forces who were guarding the building, reports say.

Another vehicle blew up in the vicinity minutes later.

“For now, the death toll stood at seven, while a number of others were injured,” commander Mohamed Nuur told the agency. The government did not rule out the possibility of the death toll rising.

Saturday’s blasts came a week after a deadly attack on the country’s Interior Ministry, which was also claimed by al-Shabab militants.