World

Somalia Hit With Second Deadly Blast As US Focuses On Al-Qaida

REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent

Al-Qaida’s Somalian affiliate killed dozens in twin car bombs in the capital city of Mogadishu in the latest in a series of deadly attacks.

Terrorists used a car bomb to ram into a hotel frequented by several Somalian government officials. Shortly after the blast armed gunmen stormed into the hotel sparking a nearly 15 hour siege with the terrorists.

“We targeted ministers and security officials who were inside the hotel,” the terrorist group said in a statement. The high profile attack comes just two weeks after one of the deadliest car bomb attacks in history with more than 300 civilians killed.

The group’s renewed pace of operations prompted the Trump administration to dramatically escalate U.S. military troops helping the country’s military. The troop escalation marks an increase of four-fold since President Donald Trump took office and reflects growing U.S. concern over the robust al-Qaida affiliate Al-Shabab in Somalia. Trump has similarly escalated aerial operations against al-Shabab since taking office by designating the country an “area of active hostilities,” which allows U.S. military commanders greater latitude in deciding what targets to strike.

U.S. troops in Somalia are now both engaged in operational support missions and train, advise, and assist for the Somalian National Army. They also provide planning and assistance in intelligence operations. Approximately half of the U.S. forces are special operators accompanying the Somalian army outside the capital on missions to provide advice and some assistance.

A U.S. Navy SEAL was killed in May during a mission with the Somalian army becoming the first U.S. casualty in the country since 1993 during the Black Hawk Down incident.

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