Africa

Al-Shabab claims mortar attack near Somalia leader ceremony

  • Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, right, speaks at a handover ceremony with former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, left, at the presidential palace with in Mogadishu, Somalia Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. The Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab is claiming responsibility for a mortar attack outside the presidential palace during a handover ceremony for the country's new president. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

    Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, right, speaks at a handover ceremony with former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, left, at the presidential palace with in Mogadishu, Somalia Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. The Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab is claiming responsibility for a mortar attack outside the presidential palace during a handover ceremony for the country's new president. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)  (The Associated Press)

  • Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, center-right, holds a Somali flag during a handover ceremony at the presidential palace with former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, center-left, in Mogadishu, Somalia Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. The Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab is claiming responsibility for a mortar attack outside the presidential palace during a handover ceremony for the country's new president. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

    Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, center-right, holds a Somali flag during a handover ceremony at the presidential palace with former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, center-left, in Mogadishu, Somalia Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. The Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab is claiming responsibility for a mortar attack outside the presidential palace during a handover ceremony for the country's new president. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)  (The Associated Press)

The Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab is claiming responsibility for a mortar attack outside the presidential palace during a handover ceremony for the country's new president.

The blasts were heard Thursday during the ceremony for President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

The SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi websites, cites al-Shabab posts on Twitter that "there is news of losses."

There was no immediate word from government officials on any deaths.

Farmajo, who also holds U.S. citizenship, was elected and sworn in Feb. 8.

Securing a country that remains under threat of deadly attacks by al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaida, is one of the new leader's top challenges.