Somali President denounces Mogadishu attack, says Shabaab 'living its last days'

Friday, February 21, 2014

By Nour Geidi

Banaadir - President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has denounced Friday's attack by Al-Shabaab militants on Mogadishu's presidential palace, which left several government officials – along with all seven attackers – dead.

"The terrorists seek to liquidate the Somali people, including the country's leaders," Mohamud told a Friday night press conference in the capital.

The attack, he asserted, was "an indication that the terrorists are living their last days."

The Somali leader reiterated his pledge to "fully eliminate Al-Shabaab… Our objective is to not to leave any terrorists on any inch of the country."

Shortly before noon on Friday, militants rammed two explosive-laden vehicles into the presidential palace. A third blast was reported in the eastern part of the building.

Al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaeda-linked militant group, claimed responsibility for the attack.

A security source told Anadolu Agency that Mahmoud Harsi, director of Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed's office, and Nour Sharbo, former deputy head of Somali intelligence, were among 12 people killed in the attack, including the attackers.

National Security Minister Adbel-Karim Hussein Guled, for his part, told reporters that the seven attackers had all been killed by security forces.

Somalia has remained in the grip of on-again, off-again political violence since the outbreak of civil war in 1991.

The country appeared to have stabilized recently with the installation of a new government and the intervention of African Union troops tasked with combating Al-Shabaab.

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