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article imageAl-Shabaab suicide truck bombing in Mogadishu claims 70 lives

By Shawn Kay     Oct 4, 2011 in World
Mogadishu - A suicide truck bombing at the Ministry of Education in Mogadishu claims at least 70 lives. Many of the victims are students who were to receive scholarships from the Turkish government. Al-Shabbab militants have claimed responsibility for the attack.
At least 70 people were killed today and scores wounded when al-Shabaab militants detonated a massive truck bomb in the heart of Mogadishu.
The bombing occurred near the K4 (Kilometer-4) traffic circle, a normally busy and heavily trafficked area of the Somali capital that is under the control of troops from the African Union peacekeeping mission or AMISOM.
Witnesses reportedly observed a truck filled with fuel drums drive into a compound containing several government buildings before exploding.
According to officials, the Ministry of Education appeared to be the target. Dozens of students accompanied by their parents were standing outside of the building at the time of the blast. The students had registered for scholarships with the Turkish government and were there to see if they had received the educational award.
Somalia’s United Nations-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) said that 15 people had been killed and another 20 injured, but Ali Muse, the head of Mogadishu’s ambulance service, told Associated Press that the death toll was far higher.
The explosion has not only affected the targeted place, but even passer-by people and car passengers died there. The death toll may increase and we are still carrying many dead bodies.
Bystanders describe a grim scene of limbs strewn about and charred bodies in the streets as officials work to save students still trapped inside the building.
Survivors of the blast have reportedly sustained terrible burns, fractures and wounds.
According to officials, the attack is the deadliest in that nation's history and the death toll is expected to rise as officials continue to pull bodies from the rubble.
Some officials believe the death toll could rise as high as 100.
The British government has issued a public statement condemned the attack as "callous." France also slammed the bombing as a vile terrorist attack and vowed to continue to support Somalia and the TFG.
Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the assault in a brief statement on a Somali language militant website often used by the group
Our Mujahideen fighters have entered a place where ministers and AMISOM foreigners stay.
Al-Shabaab's deadliest attack to date occurred outside Somalia's borders. Last Summer, several suicide bombers from that organization attacked a stadium in Kampala, Uganda, where thousands of spectators were watching the soccer World Cup final. That attack resulted in 79 dead and was in retaliation for Uganda sending thousands of its soldiers to Somalia, making up the bulk of the now 9,000 strong AMISOM force.
The militant group withdrew from the capital in August after years of brutal violence and fighting with AMISOM troops, but not before issuing a threatening promise to carryout terrorist attacks on the capital, the government and foreign troops.
Al-Shabaab has apparently fulfilled that promise today.
Though Mogadishu is under the control and protection of AMISON, al-Shabaab currently has firm control over much of the nation.
The Somali-based Al-Shabaab is an al-Qaida affiliate that is reportedly fighting to oust the United Nations-backed transition government that it sees as a puppet of the West and wants to impose its own ridged version of Sharia law throughout Somalia.
The terrorist tactic of the suicide truck bombing is a favorite of al-Shabaab as the group has used it repeatedly in the past with devastating results. Over the past few years the group has used truck bombs in the capital city Mogadishu to attack a police training camp, a university graduation ceremony, the homes of government officials, a hotel and AMISOM headquarters.
Al-Shabaab is considered an international terrorist organization by the African Union, United Nations, United States, United Kingdom and all of the European Union, Canada and Israel.
Terrorism analysts told the news service, Reuters, that today's attack was a stark reminder of the threat al-Shabbab poses to Somalia, and other countries in the region.
More about Somalia, alshabaab, truck bombing, Suicide bombing, Mogadishu
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