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Mogadishu court attack kills at least 16 people

Two car bombs and gunfire outside law courts in Somalia's capital city killed at least 16 people on Sunday.

Mogadishu car bombing 03 18 2013Enlarge
A mini bus catches fire after a car bomb explosion in central Mogadishu on March 18, 2013. The attack is the worst in Mogadishu since September 2012, when two suicide bombers killed 18 people in a restaurant. (Mohamed Abdiwahab /AFP/Getty Images)

Gunmen in government uniform attacked a Mogadishu Supreme Court complex on Sunday, killing at least 16 people.

"Armed men entered the court and then we heard a blast. Then they started opening fire. We do not know the number of casualties," court employee Hussein Ali told Reuters.

The wire agency reported at least 16 people dead - the bodies counted by its reporters - while the Associated Press, unable to confirm a death toll from authorities, said one police officer saw five dead bodies.

“I never expected to make it out alive today,” Halima Geddi, a witness who saw the attack, told the AP. “There is no peace. No one protects us. I came to see my boy who was supposed to be tried here.”

Two car bombs exploded and a gunfight occurred outside the courts as armed men and Somali security forces exchanged fire.

"We managed to put down the attack [and] we killed most of the attackers and they have killed and wounded several people including some soldiers," Qasim Omar, a local police officer, told Xinhua.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Al Qaeda-linked militant group al Shabaab has carried out a number of attacks this year, including suicide bombings.

A third car bomb at a different location exploded and killed four people, including two Turkish aid workers, according to the BBC