efe-epaMogadishu

Somalia's deputy minister of labor and 10 other people were killed here Saturday when members of the militant Islamist group al-Shabab detonated two explosives-packed vehicles and stormed a government building, officials told EFE.

The first car bombing took place in the morning at the Jubba intersection in Mogadishu, where Somali intelligence headquarters the Ministry of Labor and Public Works are located.

Five al-Shabab fighters then entered the ministry via a back door and began shooting. Security forces responded and the ensuing battle went on for several hours, according to witnesses.

Minutes after the initial blast, a second vehicle exploded at the entrance of the nearby Banaadir police station, Somali where the security forces of that administrative region of capital Mogadishu reside, according to Somali media outlet Gowane.

Abdiweli Mohamed Ibrahim, a technical adviser to the Ministry of Youth, told EFE that Deputy Labor Minister Saqar Ibrahim Abdalla was among seven people killed inside the government building, where 17 others were wounded.

The other fatalities were caused by the two explosions.

Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre extended condolences to the families of the deputy minister and the rest of the victims.

Ambulances transported 11 injured people from the scene of the attacks, according to media accounts.

Al-Shabab, which joined al-Qaida's international network in 2012, currently controls areas in the center and south of the country with the intention of establishing an Islamic state.

Mogadishu is frequently targeted by al-Shabab, which claimed responsibility for a March 1 truck-bomb assault the left 23 people dead and 45 wounded.

A total of 19 people died last month in al-Shabab car bombings in this capital.

The deadliest strike was in October 2017, when the detonation of a truck packed with explosives killed 512 people.

Somalia has been in a state of upheaval since 1991, when the toppling of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre left the country without an effective government and vulnerable to Islamic militants, warlords and criminal groups.