Somalia's al-Qaida allied Shebab insurgents fired mortars at the presidential palace in the capital overnight, killing six civilians in a camp for displaced people nearby.
The hardline Islamist group said its salvo of "midnight mortar attacks" were targeted at the palace, and boasted of killing African Union and government soldiers.
But AU force spokesman Paddy Ankunda said only civilians were killed, adding the shells missed the presidency by about 300 meters and hit one of the many crowded camps.
"A father, mother and two of their children have all died, after a mortar shell smashed into their hut, and another round killed two other civilians," said Abdiwahid Mohamed, a witness.
"People were sleeping when the mortar shells started falling, it killed a number of civilians at a camp near the presidential palace," said Colonel Bare Mohamed, a government security official.
The presidency -- guarded by a 10,000-strong AU force -- has come under several recent attacks, including a suicide bomber attack claimed by the Shebab that killed five people last week.
"It's the second attack on the presidential palace in a week, demonstrating the sheer impotence that is surrounding the weak apostate regime," the insurgents said in a message posted on Twitter.
"In every alley, every corner and every lane of Mogadishu, a mujahid (Islamist fighter) lies in wait for them," the rebels added.
Muktar Ali, another witness, said at least six mortar shells hit around the camp for displaced people in war-wracked Mogadishu and three inside. Seven other people were injured.
"We are burying the dead at a cemetery not far away from the camp," he added.
The hardline Islamists have resorted to guerrilla tactics after the majority abandoned fixed bases in Mogadishu in August in what the Shebab claimed was a tactical retreat but the AU mission said represented a military defeat.
The Shehab last month also lost control of their strategic base of Baidoa to Ethiopian troops and pro-government Somali forces, the second major loss in six months.
However, experts warn the Shebab are far from defeated and remain a major threat, especially now they have switched to guerrilla tactics.
The Shebab and other militia groups have tried to exploit the power vacuum in Somalia, which has had no effective central authority since plunging into war 21 years ago when president Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled.
In recent months however, the Shebab have faced increasing pressure from the armies of Somalia's neighbors.
Kenya sent its troops into southern Somalia to fight them last October, blaming the Shebab for the abductions of several foreigners. Its troops have now been incorporated into the AU force.
Ethiopian forces entered Somalia a month later in the west, as international diplomatic, military and relief efforts focus on ending the conflict in the south.
At a London conference last month, international powers pledged to boost aid for Somalia to tackle Islamist militancy, piracy and political instability, warning that failure to help could hurt the rest of the world.
The mandate of the government expires in August and the fragile administration's international backers have ruled out any further extension, pressing for the formation of a new administration that can impose nationwide authority.
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