The Somali jihadist group al-Shabab has launched a major attack in the country’s capital Mogadishu.
A suicide bomb exploded near the national intelligence headquarters on Sunday morning.
Following heavy fighting, al-Shabab say they entered the intelligence centre, something that is denied by Somali security officials.
The militants have vowed to intensify attacks during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which began on Wednesday.
Intense fighting continues in the area, with al-Shabab claiming to have killed several intelligence officers inside the building.
However, government officials say that militants have actually stormed a nearby residential building.
Witnesses reported a loud explosion signalling the start of the fighting.
“There was a heavy explosion and in seconds heavy gunfire broke out. We cannot go outside the house because of the shooting,” local resident Abdulahi Yare told the AFP news agency.
Security in the country has improved but al-Shabab still attacks Mogadishu regularly. The group has targeted the intelligence headquarters before.
Various armed groups have been battling for control of Somalia since the overthrow of President Siad Barre in 1991.
In April, al-Shabab militants launched an assault across the border in Kenya on a university in the north-eastern town of Garissa.
The attack killed 148 people in what was the deadliest ever attack by the group.
An X Live Africa News Aggregation Service (http://xliveafrica.com)