Somalia blast kills more than 70

Clay Curtis
December 29, 2019

At least 65 people are dead after a massive vehicle bomb exploded at a busy intersection on the outskirts of Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Saturday, a government official says.

Most of those killed were university students returning to class and police officers, said Somalia's police chief General Abdi Hassan Hijar.

A report by the global organization, which did not want to be named, said the death toll was more than 90 and that university students and 17 police officers were among those killed.

"Students traveling to schools and universities were among those killed in the attack", Ismail Mukhtar Orango, a Somali government spokesman, told Anadolu Agency after the attack.

The target may have been Turkish engineers who were in a vehicle near the busy security checkpoint where the truck exploded, Bloomberg News reported. Two Turkish nationals also died, police said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast.

Saturday is a working day in the Muslim country and the explosion occurred during the morning rush hour.

"All I could see was scattered dead bodies. amid the blast and some of them burnt beyond recognition", she said.

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However, Abdiqadir Abdirahman, director of the Aamin Ambulance service, said 61 people were killed in the attack. Since 2006, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated terror group has carried out repeated attacks in Mogadishu against different targets - killing global aid workers, journalists, civilian leaders and peacekeepers - as well as Somalia's government and military targets.

Roma, Serie A giants, have joined the rest of the world in paying tribute to victims of Mogadishu auto bomb attack. The extremist group was pushed out of Mogadishu several years ago but continues to target high-profile areas such as checkpoints and hotels in the city.

A general view shows the scene of a auto bomb explosion at a checkpoint in Mogadishu, Somalia December 28, 2019.

The group has sometimes not claimed responsibility for attacks that sparked huge public backlash, such as a 2009 suicide bombing of a graduation ceremony for medical students.

More than 500 people were killed in bombings in October 2017 in Somalia's deadliest attack to be blamed on al-Shabab. Some analysts said Al Shabaab didn't dare claim credit as its strategy of trying to sway public opinion by exposing government weakness had badly backfired.

"This explosion is similar like the one.in 2017".

The militant group emerged from the Islamic Courts Union that once controlled central and southern Somalia and is variously estimated to number between 5,000 and 9,000 men. It funds itself with a "taxation" system that experts describe as extortion of businesses and travelers that brings in millions of dollars a year.

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