More than 70 people have been killed, and at least 90 people were wounded.
A truck packed with explosives blew up at a crowded intersection on the outskirts of Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, on Saturday morning, killing and injuring scores of people.
At least 76 people have been killed and 70 have been injured, according to CNN.
Al-Shabaab, a terrorist organization with ties to al-Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to CNN. The group has carried out a number of lethal attacks in Somalia in the past year, including storming a hotel in Mogadishu with gunmen earlier in December, and is believed to be behind a 2017 Mogadishu bombing that killed 587 people.
The story is still developing. Here’s what we know, and don’t, so far.
What we know:
- The truck explosion took place outside a tax collection center during the morning rush hour, just before 8 am local time.
- The truck drove into a checkpoint where police conduct security searches, and both civilians and security forces were killed.
- The explosion has killed at least 76 people; Mogadishu’s Mayor Omar Muhamoud said at least 90 people — most of them students — were injured.
- Officials have said they expect the death toll to rise.
— Bashiir Maxmud (@BashiirMaxmud) December 28, 2019
- The intersection at which the attack took place is called Ex-control Junction, and it connects the capital to the rest of southern Somalia.
- The Somali foreign minister has said that many students and two Turkish nationals are among the dead.
- Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu expressed his government’s condolences on Twitter, writing, “May Allah’s mercy be upon our 2 citizens and innocent Somali brothers&sisters who lost their lives in the heinous terrorist attack.”
- Al-Shabaab is a group composed of roughly 7,000 to 9,000 fighters. As Vox’s Alex Ward explained earlier this year, the group’s main objectives are to “control all of Somalia” and “to ‘liberate’ Muslims in the region from so-called apostate rule.”
What we don’t know:
- The total number of casualties. There are some conflicting reports — an international organization speaking on the condition of anonymity has told Reuters that the death toll has reached at least 90 people.
- The specific individuals involved in carrying out the attack.
- Why the attack took place at this location, and whether there was a specific rationale behind this attack.
- Whether al-Shabaab was actually behind the attack (like ISIS, the group sometimes claims responsibility for attacks without evidence of its involvement).
Author: Zeeshan Aleem