23 February 2018

Somalia: Deadly Blasts Rock Somalia After Months of Relative Calm

Photo: Ahmed Osman/IPS
Wreckage of one of the suicide car bombs used to attack the presidential palace in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital (file photo).

At least 18 people have been killed in Mogadishu after two bombers struck the city's government quarter. The attacks were later claimed by al-Shabab terrorists.

At least 18 people were killed and 20 injured when twin blasts rocked the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Friday, shattering a months-long period of relative stability for the city. The attacks came just a day after Somalia's interior ministry issued a warning about possible car bombs.

The first blast, the work of a suicide car bomber, occurred near the headquarters of Somalia's intelligence service. The second came close to parliament, the presidential palace and police headquarters - all of which are in close proximity to each other in Mogadishu's government district.

There was also gunfire heard at Villa Somalia, the official name of the presidential palace.

The al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group claimed responsibility for the attacks on its radio station, Andalus. The terrorists have long sought to overthrow Somalia's internationally-recognized government in favor of implementing Islamic fundamentalist laws.

The terrorists were largely forced out of the capital by African Union troops in 2011, but they continue to be highly active in large parts of the countryside. In October, they launched their deadliest-ever attack on the capital, killing 500 people - also using vehicles laden with explosives.

es/msh (AP, AFP, dpa)


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