Iran Categorically Denounces Terrorist Attack in Somali

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In a Saturday statement, Mousavi extended his condolences to the victims of the terror attack that took place earlier in the day in Mogadishu and killed at least 90 people and injured dozens more.

The attack, the deadliest in more than two years in Somalia, came after a bomb-laden truck exploded at a checkpoint in Mogadishu.

Many students, some 17 police forces and foreign nationals were among those killed in the attack, authorities said.

Other sources suggested the toll could be much higher than 90 as the attack occurred during the morning rush hour and in a busy day in Somalia, a Muslim country in the Horn of Africa region.

Hospital sources said more than 100 wounded people had been referred to the health facilities after the attack.

Authorities, including Mogadishu Mayor Omar Muhamoud, blamed al-Shabaab, a notorious terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda, for the attack although there has been no claim of responsibility from the group.

There was no comment from the police and other authorities on the potential motives behind the attack.

Al-Shabaab was forced out of Mogadishu in 2011, but violence still rages around the city and in other parts of the country.

The group has also been responsible for high-profile attacks in Kenya mainly because the neighboring country has launched a military intervention in Somalia.

Every now and then, Al-Shabaab carries out deadly attacks against the government, military, and civilian targets in Somali. It has fought successive Somali governments as well as governments in neighboring Kenya and Uganda.

 The toll could rise as scores of people were rushed to hospitals, Government Spokesman Ismail Mukhtar told The Associated Press.

Dr. Mohamed Yusuf, director of Madina hospital, noted that they had received 73 bodies, while Abdiqadir Abdirahman, director of the Aamin Ambulance service, counted more than 50 wounded.

Most of those killed were university and other students returning to class, Mayor Omar Mohamud Mohamed said at the scene.

Capt. Mohamed Hussein said the blast targeted a tax collection center during the morning rush hour as Somalia returned to work after its weekend.

Images from the scene showed the mangled frames of vehicles and bodies lying on the ground. At a hospital, families and friends picked through dozens of bodies.

“I saw many dead bodies lying on the ground,” witness Mohamed Abdi Hakim stated, adding, “Some of those dead were police officers, but most of them were students.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast. The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab often carries out such attacks. 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 seaside city.

The extremist group is now able to make its own explosives, its “weapon of choice”, United Nations experts monitoring sanctions on Somalia said earlier this year.

The group had previously relied on military-grade explosives captured during assaults on an African Union peacekeeping force.

Al-Shabab was blamed for the truck bombing in Mogadishu in October 2017 that killed more than 500 people. The group never claimed responsibility for the blast that led to widespread public outrage.

Some analysts stated that al-Shabab 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. This one occurred just a few steps away from where I am and it knocked me on the ground from its force. I have never seen such a explosion in my entire life,” noted witness Abdurrahman Yusuf.

The latest attack again raises concern about the readiness of Somali forces to take over responsibility for the Horn of Africa country’s security in the coming months from the AU force.

Al-Shabab, the target of a growing number of US airstrikes since President Donald Trump took office, controls parts of Somalia’s Southern and Central regions. It funds itself with a “taxation” system that experts describe as extortion of businesses and travelers that brings in millions of dollars a year.

Sources: Farsnews