Bombs and gun battles kill at least 19 in Somali capital

MOGADISHU - At least 19 people were killed in the Somali capital on Sunday in bomb attacks carried out by militants linked to al-Qaida and subsequent gun battles with the al Shabaab fighters, breaking a fragile return to peace in Mogadishu.
A bomb exploded outside law courts in the city as gunmen stormed the compound. Security forces then arrived and battled the fighters inside. Later, a bomb exploded near an African Union and Turkish Red Crescent convoy on the way to the airport.
Al Shabaab said it carried out the attacks.
"About seven well-armed men in government uniform entered the court today as soon as a car bomb exploded at the gate. We thought they were government soldiers," said Aden Sabdow, who works at the mayor's office adjacent to the court.
"Armed men entered the court and then we heard a blast. Then they started opening fire. We do not know the number of casualties," said Hussein Ali, who works at the courts.
Somali forces arrived and laid siege to the compound and there was a second blast while the two sides exchanged gunfire. Hours later, the shooting stopped, but government forces said they believed some fighters were still hiding inside.
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