Published March 14, 2012
MOGADISHU, Somalia – A member of Al Qaeda-linked rebel group al Shebab blew himself up Wednesday at the compound of Somali president Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, in the capital Mogadishu, killing at least two people and injuring six others.
"We have initial reports that at least three people, including the bomber, were killed and six others injured in the explosion," police spokesman Abdulahi Hasan Barise told AFP.
The group claimed responsibility for the attack in several Twitter posts in which it claimed 16 people were killed by the bomber.
"The Mujahideen carried out a spectacular Martyrdom Operation inside the Presidential Palace of the apostate Somali regime ...," the group tweeted.
"The highly exceptional operation took place inside the #TFG compound while apostate officials were holding a meeting there," al Shebab added in separate posts. "At least 16 confirmed dead so far, incl. senior officials, intelligence personnel, &TFG militia. Death toll is still rising ..."
The whereabouts of the president, who was in Ethiopia on Tuesday, was unknown.
Al Shebab, which is designated a terrorist group by the United States, has waged a bloody campaign to overthrow the country's western-backed government, which is currently propped up by a 10,000-strong African Union force.