Police arrested hundreds of suspected al-Shabaab fighters in Mogadishu’s Hodan and Howlwadag districts Monday (June 17th) after a mortar attack Sunday targeting the presidential palace in Mogadishu, Somalia’s Garowe Online reported.
Al-Shabaab took responsibility for launching the mortars, which targeted Villa Somalia and the residence of Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon. The militants claimed via Twitter that the mortars all landed within the presidential palace, killing at least four “African Crusaders and several apostates”, referring to African Union Mission in Somalia troops and the Somali federal government.
Witnesses and news reports, however, said the mortars missed their intended targets, landing instead on nearby civilian residences. The number of casualties could not be confirmed.
This is the second attack on the presidential palace in two months. It coincided with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s return to the country from the United Kingdom, where he met with British Prime Minister David Cameron ahead of the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland.