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Militants from Al Shabaab attack UN complex in Somalia, leaving at least 15 dead

Al Shabaab militants launch a deadly assalt on the United Nations in Somalia.

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Somali National Government soldiers and police are pictured at the scene after Al-Qaeda linked Al Shabaab insurgents shot and blasted their way into the United Nations compound in Mogadishu on June 19, 2013. It is the most serious attack on the UN in the troubled country in recent years. (Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP/Getty Images)

Al Shabaab militants in Somalia attacked the United Nations (UN) complex in Mogadishu Wednesday, killing at least 15 people, according to BBC News

Somalian government officials told the BBC the building was secured following an attack earlier in the day by gunmen from the North African extremist group affiliated with Al Qaeda.

A suicide bomber supposedly blew up a car, allowing the armed men to gain access to the building, according to a witness who spoke to the BBC as well as an account on the state-run Radio Mogadishu, said Al Jazeera

Somali Interior Minister Abdikarim Hussein Guled detailed the death toll to journalists on Wednesday, saying: “So far we have confirmed four UNDP [UN Development Programme] foreign staff who were responsible for security, four Somali guards and seven militants," according to Nigeria's Channels

The Associated Press described the assault as "a bombs-and-gunfire assault that saw militants pour into the complex."

Al Shabaab has taken responsibility for the attack. UN General-Secretary Ban Ki-moon was quick to respond to the news via a spokesperson on Twitter: 

The UN chief also spoke to Somalian President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud by phone, urging him to ensure the safety of UN personnel in Somalia. 

The violence came six months after the UN moved staffers to Mogadishu, the Somalian capital. It was largely controlled by Al Shabaab until the group was ousted in a 2011 military operation, said the AP.

No additional information on the attack was immediately available. 

More from GlobalPost: Al Shabaab branches out beyond Somalia

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/130619/militants-attack-un-somalia-at-least-15-dead