Eight civilians at a cafe next door to the ministry and two soldiers died during the assault, while security forces shot dead seven of the attackers, Interior Ministry spokesman Mohamed Yusuf told journalists. Another 17 people were receiving medical treatment for injuries, Duniyo Mohamed, director at the main Medina Hospital, said in a phone interview. The militant group al-Shabaab was behind the attack, spokesman Sheikh Abdulaziz Abu Musab told Radio Andalus, a Somalia-based broadcaster that backs the fighters. The militants have often targeted places where government officials gather during their eight-year insurgency to oust the government and establish a strict version of Shariah, or Islamic law. While the group has lost territory in the past few years to a military offensive led by African Union peacekeepers and government soldiers, the region is facing a growing threat from cross-border attacks by the Islamist militants.
Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for a raid on a university in the eastern Kenyan town of Garissa about two weeks ago, in which at least 147 people, most of them students, were killed.