MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Police tell Somalia state media there are “scores of civilian casualties” after two explosions struck a busy junction Saturday in Somalia’s capital near key government offices.
The Somalia National News Agency cited national police spokesman Sadiq Dodishe, who said two car bombs had gone off.
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 blast occurred in front of a busy restaurant.
The director of the Aamin ambulance service told the AP they had collected many wounded or killed. One of the ambulances responding was destroyed in the second blast, Abdulkadir Adan added in a tweet.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility in a city often targeted by the al-Shabab extremist group.
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Two explosions have rocked Somalia’s capital of Mogadishu in what appears to be an ongoing attack at the ministry of education in a high-traffic area that houses key government offices.
Authorities said many people were killed or wounded Saturday in the midday blasts but they had no overall count yet. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
The attack in Mogadishu occurred on a day when the president, prime minister and other senior officials were meeting to discuss combating violent extremism, especially by the al-Qaida-affiliated al-Shabab group.
Al-Shabab often targets the capital with attacks on high-profile locations that begin with explosions and continue with gunmen entering and battling security teams. The group stormed the education ministry in 2015.
The new attack occurred at Zobe junction, which was the scene of a massive al-Shabab blast in 2017 that killed more than 500 people.
Somalia’s government is engaged in a new offensive against the extremist group that the United States has described as one of al-Qaida’s deadliest organizations.
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