Canadian linked to Somalia attack

Authorities are investigating a Canadian's possible death in Mogadishu after reports said he led a recent attack by Shebab Islamists on the main courthouse in the Somali capital.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police "is aware there are media reports linking a Canadian to terrorist attacks in Mogadishu," Sergeant Greg Cox told AFP.

"We cannot provide specific details but are working with relevant domestic and international partners to gather information."

The daily Toronto Star said that Somali investigators are focusing on a Canadian, Mahad Ali Dhore, whom they believe organized the assault by nine fighters wearing police or army uniforms.

Three of them blew themselves up to clear the way for the six others, who took hostages and started battling the Somali and African Union troops guarding the courthouse. The gunfight lasted for several hours.

Thirty minutes into the attack, as military reinforcements were arriving and the wounded were being evacuated, a car bomb was detonated in the zone.

The attack left at least 34 people dead.

The National Post, citing unnamed sources in Toronto's Somali diaspora, said Dhore died in the attack. He had either been one of the suicide bombers or was making a court appearance when fellow Shebab fighters stormed the complex, according to two scenarios outlined by the paper.

Dhore immigrated from Somalia to Canada at age nine. Nearly four years ago, at age 25, he quit university and left Canada to stay with an aunt in Kenya. Authorities reportedly suspected he later crossed into Somalia with others from Canada.