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Al-Shabab Claims Mortar Attack on Somali Parliament

Somali lawmakers are sworn-in to office at a ceremony held in the capital's heavily fortified Halane military camp in Mogadishu, Somalia, April 14, 2022.

Terrorist group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for a mortar attack on Somalia’s parliament Monday that injured at least six people during a joint session.

Somalia’s newly elected members of parliament were meeting Monday to approve procedures for the election of speakers when the grounds were hit by a mortar attack.

In a Facebook post, lawmaker and presidential candidate Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame said several rounds were fired and several people wounded, including two of his bodyguards.

Somali militant group al-Shabab, in media posts, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Somalia’s Office of Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble condemned the assault, which it called a terrorist act.

In posts on social media, it said the attack was a cowardly attempt to intimidate parliament, which is in the process of finishing Somalia’s indirect election.

Roble commended the efforts of lawmakers to expedite the elections.

Before the attack Monday, lawmakers unanimously agreed to elect the speaker of the Upper House on April 26 and the Speaker of the Lower House a day later.

Somalia’s indirect elections were delayed for months because of political wrangling between the prime minister and President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, known as Farmaajo.

Farmaajo had sought to extend his term in office, but backed off under intense domestic and international pressure.

Al-Shabab has taken advantage of the political instability to launch a series of deadly attacks on Somali security forces and politicians.

Somalia’s lawmakers are expected to vote for the next president as early as May.