MOGADISHU, Somalia (CNN) -- Islamic militants with the extremist group Al-Shabaab mounted a bloody attack Thursday on government administration offices in Baidoa, Somalia.
Initial reports to police indicate that nine people, including four attackers, were killed after gunmen in military uniforms attacked the house of the former Somali parliament speaker and current president of the newly established southwest regional administration, said Col. Mahad Abdi, a Somali police officer.
The attack began when a car bomb detonated at the gate of the state palace in Baidoa city, some 250 kilometers (155 miles) northwest of the capital, Mogadishu.
Heavy gunfire broke out between Somali troops backed by Ethiopian forces inside the house of the regional president, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden. Explosions and gunfire were still going on over an hour after the initial assault, Abdi said.
Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack.
A broadcast by the group's official radio station, Andulus, said that Al-Shabaab gunmen had entered the regional president's house and killed seven Ethiopian soldiers in the attack.
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