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Presidential palace in Somalia attacked

| Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 5:48 p.m.

MOGADISHU — Somali troops retook the presidential palace in the capital of Mogadishu after militants forced their way in and exchanged heavy gunfire with troops and guards on Tuesday, the latest attack underscoring the threat posed by Islamic extremist group al-Shabab in eastern Africa.

Smoke billowed from inside the heavily fortified presidential compound, and loud explosions and gunfire could be heard as troops tried to repel the intruders. After more than two hours of fighting, Somalia's presidency said in a Twitter update that “the shameful attack” had been foiled by Somalia's armed forces fighting alongside African Union peacekeepers.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was not inside the palace at the time, but the prime minister and the speaker of parliament were, said Capt. Mohamed Hussein, a senior police official.

The presidency said both President Mohamud and Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed were safe.

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