Al-Shabab gunmen attack airport in Somalia’s capital

March 23, 2022 GMT

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Gunfire rang out in Somalia’s capital Wednesday as Islamic extremists attacked the international airport, injuring at least three police officers.

Somali security forces repulsed the assault, killing two armed attackers, Somali Police Commissioner Gen. Abdi Hassan Hijar told the Somali National News Agency.

The attackers, armed with pistols and grenades, were “pretending” to be airport workers when they launched the attack, he said.

The two gunmen attempted to force their way into a military base within the airport but were thwarted, Somali police spokesman Maj. Abdifitah Adan told state media. Three police personnel were injured, he said.

Al-Shabab, Somalia’s Islamic extremist rebels, claimed responsibility for the attack inside Mogadishu’s Aden Abdulle International Airport, saying its fighters were attempting to invade a compound that is home to several diplomatic missions.

A heavy cloud of black smoke rose into the sky after a stray bullet hit a fuel tank near a checkpoint where al-Shabaab fighters exchanged fire with security personnel, eyewitness Awil Abdi told AP.

All domestic and international flights had been suspended due to the attack, said a statement from airport authorities.

Al-Shabab frequently stages deadly attacks in Mogadishu and other parts of Somalia. The rebels are fighting to impose strict Shariah law in Somalia and oppose the federal government in Mogadishu and the presence of foreign peacekeepers in the Horn of Africa nation.