UPDATE – 26 killed in Mogadishu ministry attack

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MOGADISHU – Twenty-six people, mostly civilians, were killed on Tuesday in a militant attack on the Education Ministry headquarters in central Mogadishu, a Somali police source has said.

The toll includes 18 civilians and six attackers, the source told The Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity.

He added that the attack also left an African peacekeeping force soldier dead along with the ministry security chief.

One of the attackers, the source said, blew his car up, while the remaining five attackers stormed the ministry building and exchanged fire with its security guards.

He added that the attackers managed to kill the ministry security chief before they were killed by other security guards.

The source said most of the victims were killed by the car explosion, including some young street sellers.

A spokesman for the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab militant group, Abdiasis Abu Musab, claimed responsibility for the attack on behalf of the group.

Al-Shabaab, which is waging a years-long insurgency against the Somali government, has recently suffered several setbacks, including the loss of most of its strongholds in the country’s southern and central regions.