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Militants Attack Parliament Building in Somalia

Militants in Mogadishu on Saturday carried out a multi-pronged, complex attack against the country’s parliament building involving a car bomb, suicide bomber and gunmen on foot, police said.

At least seven people were killed, including six attackers and one soldier who tried to stopped a suicide bomber from entering the building, said police Capt. Mohamed Hussein.

Many members of parliament were inside the building as the attack unfolded, and they made a mad scramble to flee. Two were wounded by gunfire, said legislator Mohamed Ali.

Somali soldiers gather around the dead body of an Al Shabab fighter who was killed during an attack on Somalia’s parliament, Saturday, May 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

Inside the parliament building, where soldiers fired from to ward off attackers, are the remnants of pure chaos – metal chairs lie overturned with bullet casings on top of some and bullet marks scar walls.

Parliamentarian Dahir Amin Jesow, who was inside parliament debating Somalia’s development bank when the attack began, said he and his fellow legislators evacuated out of the back of the building as soon as the attack began. No gunman entered parliament, he said.

The army failed to protect the legislators, one member of parliament said.

“The enemy can now access everywhere,” said visibly frightened legislator Mohamed Nor.

Bodies, apparently those of the attackers, could be seen lying near an entrance gate to the building.

Gunfire and two blasts rang out near the building long after the attack began and after police had confirmed six attackers’ deaths. Security forces shot and killed four men, Hussein said. The two other attackers who died were the driver of the car bomb and the bomber on foot.

Al-Shabab, an al-Qaida-linked group, has carried out several such complex attacks in Mogadishu, including on the city’s main court complex and attempts against the presidential palace. The group was booted out of the capital in 2011 but still controls wide areas of southern Somalia.

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