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 79 people have been killed and 149 have been injured, according to CNN.
No group has claimed responsibility for the strike, but similar attacks have been carried out in Somalia by al-Shabaab, a terrorist organization with ties to al-Qaeda. The group has carried out 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 Saturday attack is the most lethal attack that Mogadishu has seen since the 2017 bombing.
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 79 people; a government official said at least 149 more were wounded.
Suicide-bomber driving a car laden with explosives detonates at #Mogadishu’s Ex-control Afgoye. Casualties of this horrific blast is yet to clarify. #Somalia. pic.twitter.com/BaHeG44zV2— Bashiir Maxmud (@BashiirMaxmud) December 28, 2019
- The attack took place at Ex-control Junction, an intersection that 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.”
- On Sunday, a Turkish military cargo plan evacuated some of the seriously wounded victims to Turkey for medical treatment, and the country sent 24 doctors to help people on the ground in Mogadishu.
- Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire said in an address to the nation on Saturday, “I want to tell my fellow citizens wherever they are in the world, that the morale of the Somalian people won’t be undermined by the terrorists’ attacks. The enemy would be defeated and victory will ultimately be with the Somali people.”
- Hundreds of residents have donated blood in response to public appeals to help wounded victims.
What we don’t know:
- Who is behind the attacks. Some early reports stated the terror group al-Shabaab had taken responsibility for the attack, but these reports have since been revised. Like ISIS, the group sometimes claims responsibility for attacks without evidence of its involvement.
- Why the attack took place at this location, and whether there was a specific rationale behind the attack.