Apr 14, 2013 4:27 PM by Associated Press

16 killed in attack on Somali Supreme Court

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Officials put the death toll in Somalia's capital at 16, after Islamic extremists stormed the main court complex while the Supreme Court was in session.

Officials say nine al-Shabab militants, most wearing suicide vests, carried out the attack, firing a barrage of bullets during a running gun battle with security forces that lasted two hours. All nine attackers were killed.

On a Twitter feed believed to belong to the militants, al-Shabab appeared to take credit for the attack. A posting said five militants from the "Martyrdom Brigade" took part in the "daring" attack.

The assault was the most serious in Mogadishu since al-Shabab militants were forced out of the capital in August 2011.

Al-Shabab controls far less territory today than in years past, and its influence appears to be on the decline, but today's attack showed the extremists are still capable of pulling off well-planned and audacious assaults.

Western officials anticipated something major. The British Foreign Office on Friday released a travel warning for Somalia that warned terrorists could be "in the final stages of planning attacks in Mogadishu."


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