- ‘Welcome to the edge of freedom’: Biden’s boots touch down in DMZ
- Obama: Hole U.S. ‘digging out of’ requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Obama’s regulatory agenda will cost U.S. economy $143B next year: report
- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
- Russia P.M. Medvedev: No amnesty for political prisoners
- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
- Christmas, by Congress: Members mull a 15-cent tax on trees
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
- World mourns Nelson Mandela and celebrates his life; burial set for Dec. 15
- Bill O’Reilly reminds: Nelson Mandela ‘was a communist’
16 killed in attack on Somali Supreme Court
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Nine al-Shabab Islamic extremists, most wearing suicide vests, stormed Somalia’s main court complex on Sunday while the Supreme Court was in session, firing a barrage of bullets during a running gunbattle with security forces that lasted two hours, officials said.
A preliminary death toll stood at 16, including all nine attackers.
The assault was the most serious in Mogadishu since al-Shabab militants were forced out of the capital in August 2011. Al-Shabab controls far less territory today than in years past, and its influence appears to be on the decline, but Sunday’s attack proved the extremists are still capable of pulling off well-planned and audacious assaults.
The attack on the Supreme Court complex began at around 12:30 p.m. local time (5:30 a.m. EDT), sparking running battles with police and army forces. Two bomb blasts were heard, and gunmen were seen on the roof of a court building firing shots, an Associated Press reporter at the scene said. Police Officer Hassan Abdulahi said he saw five dead bodies lying at the entrance to the court.
The militants took an unknown number of hostages during the siege. Many other government workers and civilians in the court complex — a confusing labyrinth of buildings and rooms — hid in fear for their lives.
“We continue to believe that terrorists are in the final stages of planning attacks in Mogadishu,” it said.
The complex and sustained nature of the assault on the court system suggested militants hoped to inflict severe casualties. Later, a suicide car bomber rammed a vehicle carrying Turkish citizens.
Interior Minister Abdikarim Hussein Guled said nine militants attacked the court complex and six of them detonated suicide vests. Three others were shot and killed during the assault, he said. Mr. Guled said he couldn’t immediately provide an overall death toll that included government officials and civilians.
Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon said the “pointless and pathetic act” would have no effect on the government’s commitment to progress. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said Somalia is moving forward but the enemy of Somalia and “of all mankind” is trying to prevent the country from prospering.
“I want the terrorist to know that our country, Somalia, is moving and will keep moving forward and will not be prevented to achieve the ultimate noble goal, a peaceful and stable Somalia, by a few desperate terrorists,” Mr. Mohamud said.
Ugandan troops stationed in Mogadishu as part of the African Union force arrived at the scene and began taking up sniper positions on rooftops.
The Supreme Court was in session, and the court’s chief justice may have been the target of the assault, said a Western official who had been speaking to Somali officials. The official spoke on condition he wasn’t identified because he wasn’t authorized to release the information.
The gunmen took hostages in the complex’s main courtroom and forced their way into other rooms in the complex, said another police officer, Abdinasir Nor.
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Obama administration issues permits for wind farms to kill more eagles
- Obama: Hole U.S. 'digging out of' requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Craigslist killers: Police say newlyweds stabbed man for thrills
- 'Dude, I'm dreading that I will have to go': Czech prime minister on Mandela funeral
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- Rush Limbaugh: Obama trying to make Mandela death about himself
- NAPOLITANO: Pope Francis should be saving souls, not pocketbooks
- John Boehner says GOP should support gay candidates: I do
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
A stat-head’s outlook, direct from his worn in couch cushion.
Classical music and the performing arts: news and reviews you can use.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
White House pets gone wild!