Somali authorities say suicide bombings and assaults by al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants on Mogadishu's main court complex killed at least 22 people and wounded 18 others Sunday, breaking a fragile return to peace.
The preliminary death toll, which includes all nine attackers, is likely to rise because some families took the bodies of their loved ones home instead of to the hospital.
Mogadishu medical officials tell VOA ((Somali service)) the two top lawyers who recently defended an alleged rape victim and the journalist who interviewed her are among the victims.
Authorities say the militants were dressed in Somali military uniforms when they stormed the main court building and started shooting at the security guards on duty.
Government forces arrived and laid siege to the compound. Explosions could be heard while the two sides exchanged gunfire. Hours later, a car bomb exploded near the airport in the capital, damaging a vehicle said to be carrying Turkish citizens.
Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack on the court complex.
Somali President Hassan Mohamud strongly condemned Sunday's attacks, saying that "a few desperate terrorists" will not keep Somalia from moving forward toward peace and stability.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague also condemned the attacks and called for the "terrorists" who carried them out to face justice.
The U.N. Special Representative for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, expressed shock and outrage at the violence.