Islamic insurgents fired mortar rounds at the presidential palace in the Somali capital, and witnesses said at least 13 people were killed in that attack and a separate one.
The insurgents shelled the palace as Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein was meeting with African Union peacekeepers and members of an Islamic group that has signed a power-sharing deal with his government, the government spokesman Abdi Haji Gobdon said yesterday.
Gobdon said no one in the palace was hurt. Islamic insurgents have attacked the presidential palace several times over the past two years without killing any senior officials.
Government forces fired mortars in retaliation, hitting a crowded market and residential area.
Ali Muse, the coordinator of Mogadishu's ambulance service told Associated Press that he counted 11 bodies, including those of a woman and two girls.
Muse said his service carried at least 16 wounded people from Bakara market and the Gedjael neighborhood in southern Mogadishu. Other health care officials reported at least 14 injured transported to their facilities.
"Blood and mangled human flesh was everywhere. Some of those killed could only be identified with their tattered clothes," said Abdifitah Salad Nur, a trader in the market.
Somali government officials rarely comment on civilian casualties.
Elsewhere, along the industrial road northeast of Mogadishu, Islamic insurgents ambushed Ethiopian military trucks that were pulling out of the capital.