Al-Shabaab militants attack Somali presidential palace in Mogadishu
February 21, 2014 -- Updated 1618 GMT (0018 HKT)
- Militants in Somalia carry out a deadly attack on the presidential palace
- Minister says 12 people died in the attack, seven of them Al-Shabaab militants
- Police said an explosion at the palace gates was followed by a gun battle
- The President said he was unharmed, but two government officials were killed
Mogadishu, Somalia (CNN) -- Militants carried out a deadly attack on Somalia's presidential palace Friday, officials and eyewitnesses said.
An explosion at the gate was followed by an exchange of gunfire between the fighters and security guards, police officer Abdi Mohamed said.
A U.N. representative said in a post on Twitter that President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud told him by phone that he was unharmed.
Terror network Al-Shabaab, al Qaeda's affiliate in Somalia, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Somalia's national security minister, Adbikarin Hussein Guled, said at least 12 people, seven of them Al-Shabaab attackers, were killed in the attack
Two government officials who died were named as the secretary to the Prime Minister and the former deputy national intelligence agency chief, Gen. Nur Shirbow.
Sheikh Abdiaziz Abu Musab, Al-Shabaab's military operations spokesman, said the group had achieved its objectives in the attack.
The attack comes just over a week after a car bombing near the airport in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, killed two people and wounded four more, according to police.
Al-Shabaab also claimed responsibility for that attack.
The group has been designated a terrorist organization by the United States. It hopes to turn Somalia into a fundamentalist Islamic state by force but has launched attacks in other countries, such as Kenya and Uganda, that have killed dozens.
Journalist Omar Nor reported from Mogadishu and Laura Smith-Spark wrote in London. CNN's Ben Brumfield and Saad Abedine contributed to this report.
Part of complete coverage on
March 17, 2014 -- Updated 1603 GMT (0003 HKT)
As investigators search for clues to unravel the mystery of where Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went, there were several key developments.
March 17, 2014 -- Updated 1648 GMT (0048 HKT)
Officials say Flight 370 was diverted, but how likely is it that terrorists were responsible?
March 17, 2014 -- Updated 1416 GMT (2216 HKT)
West needs to frighten Putin, to prevent him moving in to other regions, writes Simon Tisdall.
Track star Oscar Pistorius is accused of killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Follow live updates of South Africa's trial of the century.
March 17, 2014 -- Updated 0249 GMT (1049 HKT)
A former guard of a North Korean prison camp shares the horrors faced by its inhabitants. CNN's Paula Hancocks reports.
March 17, 2014 -- Updated 1050 GMT (1850 HKT)
"I have seen the tombstones of girls who died too young because they married too young." writes Nawal Ba Abbad.
March 17, 2014 -- Updated 1234 GMT (2034 HKT)
A free app will soon allow anyone to compose and send a smell note.
March 17, 2014 -- Updated 1212 GMT (2012 HKT)
South African illustrator reimagines the famed 'Burning House Project' where all the characters are hipsters.
March 17, 2014 -- Updated 1143 GMT (1943 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
March 17, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
13,276 of you voted for John D. Sutter to cover wildlife trafficking as part of CNN's Change the List effort.
March 17, 2014 -- Updated 1838 GMT (0238 HKT)
It's like a stunt from the latest Bond movie, only this isn't a movie and there isn't a harness.
March 17, 2014 -- Updated 1506 GMT (2306 HKT)
When you head to the St. Patrick's Day parade, dropping these facts and figures will impress your fellow revelers!
Today's five most popular stories