At least 100 people were killed Saturday at a crowded intersection in Mogadishu after twin car bombs exploded in Somalia’s capital city, the country’s president confirmed according to multiple reports.
The blasts took place minutes apart and destroyed buildings and vehicles in the area, according to the BBC. Those killed included a well-known journalist and a senior police officer, the outlet reported. “I couldn’t count the bodies on the ground due to the (number of) fatalities,” AP News reported, citing a witness to the attack.
Nearly 300 additional people were wounded in the bombings, AP continued, citing Somalian President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. He asked the country’s international partners and Muslims worldwide to send medical doctors to help treat the wounded by sending medical doctors to the area, the outlet continued. The country has a fragile healthcare system weakened by decades of conflict.
Al-Shabab, an extremist group with ties to al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they targeted the education ministry, according to AP. The group believes the ministry to be an “enemy base” backed by non-Muslim countries and “is committed to removing Somali children from the Islamic faith,” the outlet reported. Somalia’s president vowed “total war” on the militant group after an August attack on a Mogadishu hotel killed at least 21 people, the BBC reported.
The site of Saturday’s explosions is the same spot where a truck bombing killed more than 500 people in 2017, almost exactly five years before, according to AP.
In recent years the U.S. has targeted al-Shabab with airstrikes, having labeled the group as one of al-Qaida’s most threatening organizations, according to AP. Military personnel in the hundreds recently returned to Somalia after previously being withdrawn by former President Trump, the outlet noted. (RELATED: Al-Shabaab Blows Up Somalian Capital After The US Targets Top Leader)
The site of Saturday’s explosions is the same spot where a truck bombing killed more than 500 people in 2017, the country’s most fatal such attack to date, according to AP.