Al-Shabab militants have stormed a military intelligence base in the Somali capital of Mogadishu following a car bomb explosion targeting the compound, security sources say.
Adan Mohamed, a Somali security official, said the attack was carried out on Sunday.
The militants “used a car bomb to get inside the compound,” which belonged “to the security forces,” he said, adding, “There was a heavy exchange of gunfire.”
The base is owned by the Somali government’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA).
Media reports, meanwhile, quoted Abdiasis Abu Musab, an al-Shabab spokesman, as claiming that the militants have captured the building and “killed many” inside.
However, NISA said in a statement that the raid had failed.
“The attack was successfully thwarted by our forces. None of our buildings nor bases were entered,” the statement read.
Somalia’s Interior Ministry also said three assailants were killed in the raid, while there were no casualties on the side of the Somali security forces.
“The security forces have foiled an attempted attack by the desperate terrorists,” Interior Ministry spokesman Mohamed Yusuf said.
The attack came a day after the militants raided a police post near the capital and killed eight officers.
Somalia has been the scene of deadly clashes between government forces and al-Shabab militants since 2006.
The militants have been pushed out of Mogadishu and other major cities by government troops and the African Union Mission to Somalia, which is largely made up of troops from Ethiopia, Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Sierra Leone, and Kenya.
The al-Shabab members have, however, continued to carry out attacks in Mogadishu despite being ousted from their bases in the seaside city in 2011.