Explosions, gunfire near Mogadishu Mayor's office

Somali policemen hold their positions near the mayor's office following a blast in Mogadishu on January 22, 2023. [Reuters]

Explosions and gunfire have been heard in downtown Mogadishu Sunday.

Witnesses in the Somali capital said they heard a large explosion and saw a plume of smoke near Mogadishu’s municipality headquarters around noon local time.

The building is the office of Mogadishu Mayor Yusuf Hussein Jimale.

Witnesses in the capital said they heard two more explosions after the first.

The al-Shabab militant group claimed via Telegram its fighters carried out a complex attack on the mayor’s headquarters.

Al-Shabab’s complex attacks usually involve an initial explosion followed by armed suicide infantry storming the target.

The Somali government has not yet commented on the attack.

The Mogadishu Mayor’s office was attacked by al-Shabab on July 24, 2019, when a female suicide bomber fatally wounded then-Mayor Abdirahman Omar Osman.

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