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Somalia's Army Chief Escapes Bomb Attack

Security officials in Somalia say the country's army chief narrowly escaped a bomb attack that killed two of his bodyguards in the capital Thursday.

Police say a roadside bomb exploded in southern Mogadishu just as a convoy passed carrying General Mohamed Gelle Kahiye.

Kahiye escaped injury, but authorities say two military guards riding in the convoy were killed and six others were wounded. Kahiye was named army chief last month.

Police blame the attack on Islamist insurgents.

Witnesses in Mogadishu say Islamist rebels also fired mortar bombs at the presidential palace Thursday, prompting a firefight with guards that killed least 10 people. Hospital officials say at least 20 others were wounded.

The militant groups al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam control parts of the capital and have been fighting to overthrow the western backed government.

The week transitional government is trying to recapture the city. African Union peacekeepers are helping to control key sites, including the airport, seaport and the presidential palace.

Islamist insurgents have gained control of much of southern and central Somalia after a three-year insurgency.

The militants are trying to oust the moderate Islamic government to set up a strict Islamic state.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.