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At least 100 people have been killed in car bombings in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu

Somalia’s president says at least 100 people were killed in two car bombings at a busy intersection in the capital on Saturday, and that the death toll could rise in the country’s deadliest attack since a truck bomb exploded in the same spot five years ago. more than 500 people died.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud told reporters at the scene of the explosions in Mogadishu that almost 300 more people were injured. “We are asking our international partners and Muslims around the world to send their doctors here, as we cannot send all the injured abroad for treatment,” he said.

The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab extremist group, which often targets the capital and controls much of the country, claimed responsibility, saying it had targeted the education ministry. It claimed the ministry was a “hostile base” that received support from non-Muslim countries and “seeks to wean Somali children from the Islamic faith.”

Al-Shabaab does not normally claim responsibility when large numbers of civilians are killed, as was the case in the 2017 bombing, but it has been angered by the government’s high-profile new offensive, which also aims to shut down its financial network. The group said it was committed to fighting until Islamic law ruled the country and asked civilians to stay away from government areas.

Somalia’s president, elected this year, said the country was continuing its war with al-Shabaab, “and we are winning.”

The attack in Mogadishu came on a day when the president, prime minister and other senior officials were meeting to discuss expanding efforts to combat violent extremism, and particularly the al-Shabaab group. Extremists seeking to establish an Islamic state responded to the offensive by killing prominent clan leaders in an apparent attempt to dissuade popular support.

Car bomb explosions in Somalia
A general view shows the site of two car bomb explosions in Mogadishu, Somalia on October 29, 2022.

Abukar Mohamed Muhuddin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The attack overwhelmed first responders in Somalia, where the health system is one of the weakest in the world after decades of conflict. In hospitals and elsewhere, frantic relatives peered under plastic wrap and into body bags, looking for loved ones.

Halima Duwane was looking for her uncle Abdullahi Jama. “We don’t know if he’s alive or dead, but the last time we spoke, he was here,” she said, crying.

Witnesses of the attack were stunned. “I couldn’t count the bodies on the ground because of (the number of) dead,” said witness Abdirazak Hasan. According to him, the first explosion thundered along the perimeter of the wall of the Ministry of Education, where street vendors and money changers were located.

An Associated Press reporter at the scene said the second explosion occurred in front of a busy restaurant at lunchtime. The explosions destroyed tuk-tuks and other vehicles in the area of ​​many restaurants and hotels.

The Somali Syndicate of Journalists, citing its colleagues and the police, said one journalist was killed and two others wounded in a second blast as he was rushing to the scene of the first. Aamin Ambulance Service said that the second explosion destroyed one of the vehicles that came to help.

It was not immediately clear how the explosives-laden vehicles had once again reached the landmark in Mogadishu, a city rife with checkpoints and constantly on the alert for attacks.

The United States has named al-Shabaab as one of al-Qaeda’s deadliest organizations and has carried out numerous airstrikes against it in recent years.

US troops in Somalia number less than 500 troops since May, when President Biden approved the Pentagon’s request to return troops to the war-torn country, reversing former President Donald Trump’s decision in January 2021 to withdraw the larger contingent of 750 troops stationed there. After taking office, Trump initially expanded airstrikes in the region, but in December 2020 ordered troop reductions.


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