Car bombs in Mogadishu, Somalia kill civilians: NPR

MOGADISHU, Somalia – Two car bombs exploded on Saturday at a busy junction in the Somali capital near major government offices, killing “dozens of civilian victims”, police told state media. The attack came five years after a massive explosion at the same location.

The Somali National News Agency quoted national police spokesman Sadiq Dodishe on the toll. The Mogadishu attack came on a day when the president, prime minister and other senior officials were meeting to discuss countering violent extremism, particularly by the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabab group. which often targets the capital.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

An Associated Press reporter at the scene saw “numerous” bodies and said they appeared to be civilians traveling on public transportation. He said the second explosion happened outside a busy restaurant. Footage from the scene showed crashed tuk-tuks and other vehicles.

The director of Aamin’s ambulance service told the AP that they had picked up many injured or killed. One of the ambulances responding to the attack was destroyed by the second blast, Abdulkadir Adan added in a tweet.

The attack happened at the Zobe Junction, which was the scene of a massive al-Shabab truck bombing in 2017 that killed more than 500 people.

Al-Shabab often targets high-profile locations. Saturday’s blast occurred near the Ministry of Education, which extremists stormed in 2015, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Somali government has embarked on a new, high-profile offensive against the extremist group the United States has described as one of al-Qaeda’s deadliest organizations. The Somali president described it as “all-out war” against extremists, who control large parts of central and southern Somalia and have been the target of dozens of US airstrikes in recent years.

Extremists responded by killing prominent clan leaders in an apparent effort to deter support for this government offensive.


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