MOGADISHU : Three Shabaab gunmen were shot dead Saturday after exchanging fire with security forces outside the presidential palace in Mogadishu in an attack in which two car bombs were also detonated, an official said.

Abdulahi Ahmed, a security official said one vehicle loaded with explosives rammed into a security barrier, while another detonated near a separate checkpoint close to the main entrance of the presidential palace.

Gunmen then tried to force their way through the checkpoint. “Three gunmen were killed and the two vehicles were detonated, there are no details yet,” said Ahmed, adding that several civilians were wounded. The Al-Qaeda linked Shabaab group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement.

The attack comes a week after five civilians were killed when two blasts targeted Somalia’s internal security ministry. The Shabaab has been fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu for over a decade.

Despite losing towns and territory in recent years the group continues to carry out regular bombings and armed raids on government, security and civilian targets in the capital and elsewhere.