Farah Abdi Warsameh / AP
MOGADISHU, Somalia — Two car bombs exploded Saturday at a busy junction in the Somali capital near key government offices, leaving “a lot of civilian casualties,” police told media. government. The attack occurred five years after a massive explosion at the same location.
Somalia’s national news agency quoted national police spokesman Sadiq Dodishe about the incident. The Mogadishu attack came on a day when the president, prime minister and other senior officials were meeting to discuss combating violent extremism, especially that of al-Shabab group affiliated with al-Shabab. -Qaida usually targets the capital.
There is no immediate claim of responsibility.
An Associated Press journalist at the scene saw “many” bodies and said they appeared to be civilians traveling on public transport. He said the second explosion occurred in front of a crowded restaurant. Photos from the scene show tuk-tuks and other vehicles being crushed.
Ambulance service director Aamin told the AP that they had collected many injured or dead. Abdulkadir Adan added that one of the ambulances responding to the attack was destroyed by the second explosion.
The Somali Journalists Syndicate said one journalist was killed and two others injured.
The attack happened at the Zobe junction, which is the scene of a giant al-Shabab truck bombing in 2017 killing more than 500 people.
Al-Shabab often targets well-known locations. Saturday’s explosion occurred near the education ministry, where extremists attacked in 2015, and the foreign ministry.
The Somali government has been involved in a famous new offensive against the extremist group that the United States describes as one of al-Qaida’s most dangerous organizations. Somalia’s president has described it as “all-out war” against extremists, who control much of central and southern Somalia and have been the target of numerous US air strikes in recent years.
The extremists responded by killing prominent clan leaders in an apparent attempt to discourage government support for that attack.