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Al-Shabab Attack in Mogadishu Leaves 9 Dead, AU Mission Says


Nine people are dead after al-Shabab militants attacked an African Union base on the edge of Mogadishu International Airport, the AU mission said.

The African Union Mission to Somalia, or AMISOM, said in a statement that al-Shabab fighters, some dressed in Somali National Army uniforms, breached the compound around midday Thursday and tried to gain access to what AMISOM called critical infrastructure.

It said five attackers, three AU soldiers and one civilian contractor died in the ensuing struggle for control of the base, and three al-Shabab militants were captured.

AMISOM said it had regained control of the base and "restored normalcy."

In claiming responsibility for the attack, al-Shabab said the raid targeted a Christmas party at the base.

The Reuters news agency quoted an al-Shabab spokesman as saying the militants had killed 14 people.

Thursday's attack targeted the Halane base, a fortified structure that is also home to a U.N. office and several embassies.

The U.N. representative to Somalia, Nicholas Kay, condemned the attack.

AU and Somali government forces have pushed al-Shabab out of most Somali cities and towns. The al-Qaida-linked group, however, still launches periodic raids and suicide attacks on AU and government targets. Al-Shabab fighters have killed several Somali lawmakers this year and mounted two major attacks on the Somali presidential palace.

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