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Death toll from Mogadishu car bomb attacks rises to 11 - Xinh

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MOGADISHU, March 23 (Xinhua) -- The death toll from Saturday's two car bombings in Somali capital, Mogadishu, rose to 11 while 15 others were injured, a medical charity said on Saturday.

Abdulkadir Abdirrahman, director of Amin ambulance confirmed the death toll to Xinhua, saying the operation at the ministry in central Mogadishu was over and the security officers are now in control.

"So far, additional reports we found from our staff confirmed that today's car bomb attacks killed 11 people and injured 15 others," Abdirrahman said.

Government officials said the siege on the buildings housing ministries of labor and public works, reconstruction and housing in Shangani came to an end after security forces shot dead all the five bombers.

"Our security forces are now in control of the building. Our security forces managed to contain massive deaths by swiftly ending the siege," said a government official who declined to be quoted.

The fighting started at midday after suicide bomber rammed a car laden with explosives into the gate of buildings before several armed men gained entry into the building.

Deputy Minister for labor and social affairs Saqar Ibrahim Abdalla was among those killed in the blast which has been roundly condemned by senior government officials.

"I was in my office when armed men broke into the building.I jumped from a window in my office as some of my colleagues did," Osman Bashir, a government employee who was rescued by the security forces said.

The al-Shabab militant group claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming one of its fighters entered the two buildings with a car laden with explosives and carried out the attack.

The al-Qaida allied terrorist group has been fighting the government.

The latest attack came as Somali security forces are vacating their military bases in protest of unpaid salaries, stoking fear among the residents that al-Shabab may take over the abandoned bases.

However, the government has refuted the allegations, saying the soldiers are paid regularly and on time, adding that soldiers who have not received their salaries refused to register themselves under biometric system which was put in place to weed out fraud.

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