Update: Car Bomb Leaves At Least 76 Dead In Somali Capital Mogadishu

The wreckage of a car that was destroyed during the car bomb that exploded in Mogadishu that killed more than 20 people is photographed in Mogadishu on December 28, 2019. 
Abdirazak Hussein FARAH / AFP

 

A massive car bomb exploded in a busy area of Mogadishu on Saturday, leaving at least 76 people dead, many of them university students, officials said.

The blast occurred at a busy intersection southwest of the Somali capital where traffic is heavy because of a security checkpoint and a tax office.

The wounded were carried on stretchers from the site, where the force of the explosion left charred and twisted remains of vehicles.

Mogadishu is regularly hit by car bombings and attacks waged by Al-Shabaab Islamist militants allied to Al-Qaeda, but Saturday’s blast is the deadliest in about two years.

Many of those killed are believed to be university students whose bus was hit by the blast. Two Turkish nationals also died, police said.

“The number of casualties we have confirmed is 76 dead and 70 wounded, it could still be higher,” the director of the private Aamin Ambulance service, Abdukadir Abdirahman Haji, told AFP.

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Police officer Ibrahim Mohamed described the explosion as “devastating”.

“We have confirmed that two Turkish nationals, presumably road construction engineers are among the dead, we don’t have details about whether they were passing by the area or stayed in the area,” he said.

‘Dead Bodies Scattered’

Mogadishu’s mayor Omar Mohamud Mohamed told a press conference that the exact number of dead was not yet known, but that around 90 people were wounded.

“We will confirm the exact number of the number of the dead later but it is not going to be small, most of the dead were innocent university students and other civilians,” he said.

“This was a devastating incident because there were many people including students in buses who were passing by the area when the blast occurred,” said another witness, Muhibo Ahmed.

Sakariye Abdukadir, who was near the area when the car bomb detonated, said the blast “destroyed several of my car windows”.

“All I could see was scattered dead bodies… amid the blast and some of them burned beyond recognition.”

No group has yet claimed the attack.

Mogadishu is regularly hit by attacks by Al-Shabaab, which has fought for more than a decade to topple the Somali government.

The militant group emerged from the Islamic Courts Union that once controlled central and southern Somalia and is variously estimated to number between 5,000 and 9,000 men.

In 2010, the Shabaab declared its allegiance to Al-Qaeda.

In 2011, its fighters fled positions they once held in the capital Mogadishu, and have since lost many strongholds.

But they retain control of large rural swathes of the country and continue to wage a guerrilla war against the authorities

Two weeks ago, five people were killed when Shabaab militants attacked a Mogadishu hotel popular with politicians, army officers and diplomats in an hours-long siege.

Since 2015, there have been 13 attacks in Somalia with 20 or more killed, 11 of which have been in Mogadishu, according to a tally of AFP figures.

All of them involved car bombs.

The deadliest attack in the country’s history was a truck bombing in October 2017 in Mogadishu which left 512 people dead and around 295 injured.

AFP

Car Bomb Kills Nine In Northern Syria Town – Monitor

This picture taken on November 23, 2019 shows the aftermath of a car bomb explosion at the industrial zone in the northern Syrian town of Tal Abyad, on the border with Turkey. Zein Al RIFAI / AFP

 

A car bomb killed nine people including four civilians in a Turkish-held border town in northern Syria on Saturday, a Britain-based war monitor said.

Two children were among those killed in Tal Abyad, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing.

But Ankara’s defence ministry in a statement blamed Kurdish forces who controlled the town before Turkish troops and proxy fighters overran it last month.

An AFP photographer saw smoke billow from the twisted burnt remains of a pick-up truck inside the town, and a bright red bloodstain on the road nearby.

Pro-Turkey fighters and men in civilian clothes carried away human remains in a waterproof cover, he said.

The area has been shaken by repeated such bombings since Turkish troops carried out a cross-border operation last month.

The Turkish invasion against Kurdish-controlled areas saw Ankara’s fighters seize a strip of land roughly 120 kilometres long and 30 kilometres deep on the Syrian side of the border.

The operation launched on October 9 displaced tens of thousands and left dozens of civilians dead, and forced Kurdish forces to retreat from some key towns.

On November 10, Turkey blamed Kurdish fighters for another bombing that took the lives of eight people in the village of Suluk southeast of Tal Abyad.

A week earlier, another car bomb killed 13 people in Tal Abyad, according to the Observatory.

Syria’s Kurds have been a key ally of the US in fighting the Islamic State jihadist group in Syria, but Turkey sees them as “terrorists” linked to a Kurdish insurgency at home.

Kurdish-led Syrian forces expelled IS from its last patch of land in March, but the jihadists have continued to claim deadly attacks.

Car Bomb Kills 19 In Northern Syria

This file photo shows residents staring at the remains of a car that exploded in the town of Suluk in Syria’s Turkish-controlled Tal Abyad border region on November 10, 2019.
Zein Al RIFAI / AFP

 

A car bomb killed 19 people, 13 of them civilians, in the Turkish-controlled town of Al-Bab in northern Syria on Saturday, a war monitor said.

The bomb, which struck a bus and taxi station in the town, also wounded 33 people, some of them seriously, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Turkey and its Syrian proxies control several pockets of territory on the Syrian side of the border as a result of successive incursions in 2016-17, 2018 and 2019.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing but the Observatory said there had been persistent security incidents in the town since its capture by Turkish troops from the Islamic State group in February 2017.

The town, some 30 kilometres (20 miles) northeast of Syria’s second city Aleppo, was one of the westernmost strongholds of the jihadists’ self-styled “caliphate” which was finally eradicated by US-backed Kurdish forces in eastern Syria in March.

Turkey blamed the car bombing on the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) against whom it launched a new invasion further east last month.

Kurdish fighters “continue to target innocent civilians using the same methods as Daesh,” the defence ministry said on its official Twitter account using another acronym for IS.

There was no immediate reaction from the YPG, seen by Ankara as a “terrorist offshoot” of the Kurdistan Workers Party which has fought an insurgency inside Turkey for the past 35 years.

The latest Turkish invasion, which was aimed at creating a buffer zone the whole length of the border, sparked an outcry in the West because of the key role the YPG played in the US-led campaign against IS.

It paused after Turkey struck a truce deal with Russia, the main supporter of the Syrian government, to jointly patrol the border area and oversee the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters from a new Turkish-controlled pocket between the towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain.

 

AFP

Car Bomb Kills Eight, Injures 20 In Syria

Residents stare at the remains of a car that exploded in the town of Suluk in Syria’s Turkish-controlled Tal Abyad border region on November 10, 2019, which Ankara said killed at least eight people and wounded more than 20.
Zein Al RIFAI / AFP

 

A car bomb in Syria killed eight people and wounded more than 20 on Sunday in the sector in the north of the country currently under Turkey’s control, Ankara said.

“Eight civilians lost their lives and more than 20 were wounded in an attack by a booby-trapped vehicle,” a defence ministry statement said.

The statement blamed the attack on the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia, viewed by Ankara as an offshoot of the Kurdish PKK, which has fought an insurgency inside Turkey for the past 35 years.

But the force was until recently backed by Washington in the US fight against jihadist fighters in Syria.

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The attack happened in Suluk, a village about 20 kilometres (12 miles) southeast of the Syrian border town of Tal Abyad, according to Britain-based war monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Observatory gave a lower death toll, saying five people were killed and 13 wounded, with both civilians and fighters among the dead. It did not say who carried out the attack.

Turkish forces and their proxies — former Syrian rebels hired as a ground force by Ankara — launched a deadly offensive against Kurdish forces in Syria on October 9.

They acted days after US President Donald Trump ordered his troops to withdraw in a move that observers condemned as a betrayal of their Kurdish partners in the war against the Islamic State group in Syria.

The Turkish push was aimed at seizing a strip of land roughly 30 kilometres deep along the 440-kilometre border between the two countries.

Ankara says it wants to establish a “safe zone” there in which to resettle some of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees it hosts on its soil.

The invasion has displaced tens of thousands and left dozens of civilians dead, forcing Kurdish forces to retreat from some key towns.

AFP

Two Killed In Car Bomb Attack In Iraq’s Mosul

Iraqi men gather at the scene of a car bomb explosion in which two people were killed and ten others were wounded near a restaurant in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, on March 8, 2019.
Zaid AL-OBEIDI / AFP

 

 

Two people were killed in a car bomb outside a restaurant in Iraq’s Mosul late Friday, security forces said, in the second such incident in around a week.

A statement by the Iraqi military’s media centre said one young woman and a security officer were killed in the blast, which took place in the city’s eastern half.

Ten other people were wounded.

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Iraqi forces ousted the Islamic State group from Mosul in mid-2017, but explosions and hit-and-run attacks have continued to plague the province.

Last week a car bomb detonated near Mosul University, killing one person and wounding 13 more.

On Wednesday night, six paramilitary forces were killed and more than two dozen wounded in an ambush south of Mosul.

Iraqi authorities have also warned that jihadists could slip across the porous border from Eastern Syria, where IS faces a ferocious US-backed offensive on its final redoubt.

AFP

Nine Killed In Car Bomb In Syria

 

A car bomb killed at least nine people including five civilians near a pro-Turkey rebel post in the northern Syrian city of Afrin on Sunday, a British-based war monitor said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it was not clear who was behind the blast in the city, which was seized from Kurdish forces earlier this year.

The explosion comes after the Turkish president on Wednesday threatened to launch a new offensive against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.

The Observatory said the blast wounded dozens, and the toll was likely to rise.

“The car bomb exploded near a position of pro-Turkey fighters” in a market, killing five civilians and four fighters, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

At the site of the explosion, fresh herbs and vegetables were strewn on the ground near blackened market stalls.

Vegetable seller Abu Yazan al-Qabuni told AFP he was in the market towards midday when he saw a van enter.

“We thought it was carrying vegetables,” he said.

After a huge blast rocked the area, he ran to the site of the explosion, finding wounded people and body parts on the ground.

“I put them in a bag and buried them,” he said.

“There are no armed gangs, no terrorists here. We’re a vegetable market,” he added, indignant.

The city of Afrin was captured in March this year from the YPG by Turkish armed forces and Syrian rebels backed by Ankara.

Turkey accuses the YPG of being “terrorists”, but the Kurdish militia also forms the backbone of a US-backed alliance fighting the Islamic State group in Syria.

YPG forces are present in areas along the Turkish border to the east of Afrin.

On Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey was planning to launch a new offensive within the “next few days” against the YPG in northern Syria.

A day later, a Turkish soldier was killed in the Afrin region after coming under fire from the YPG, the Turkish defence ministry said.

On Friday, US President Donald Trump agreed with Erdogan on “more effective coordination” between both countries in the war-torn country.

American forces are present in an area along the Turkish border east of Afrin, as part of the US-led coalition fighting IS.

Erdogan has strongly criticised Washington’s support for the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces fighting IS in their last holdout in the far east of the country.

Syria’s war has killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions since starting in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

It has since spiralled into a complex conflict involving jihadists and world powers.

AFP

Germany Jails Syrian Refugee For Planning Car Bomb Attack

Germany Map

 

A German court on Friday sentenced a Syrian refugee to six and a half years in jail for planning an Islamist attack using a car bomb.

The 20-year-old, named as Yamen A., was in the process of acquiring the chemical products and materials necessary to build a bomb when he was arrested in the northeastern town of Schwerin in October 2017.

At the time, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said “a serious attack has been prevented”.

According to prosecutors, Yamen A. planned to kill or injure about “200 people” with a car bomb at an undisclosed location in Germany.

He discussed bomb-making instructions in online chat groups and repeatedly tried to manufacture the powerful explosive TATP, his trial at Hamburg’s higher regional court revealed.

Prosecutors had sought a punishment of five and a half years, but judges opted for a longer sentence given the accused’s “determination” to carry out an attack, DPA news agency reported.

“You wanted to take lives, and in doing so endanger the security of the state,” said presiding judge Ulrike Taeubner.

Yamen A. arrived in Germany in 2015 at the height of the refugee influx to avoid military service at home.

Investigators believe he was radicalised over the Internet by mid-2017 and became a supporter of the Islamic State group.

Germany remains on high alert over the risk of a jihadist attack, having suffered several in recent years.

The bloodiest, claimed by IS, was a truck rampage through a Berlin Christmas market in December 2016 that left 12 people dead.

AFP

Suspected Car Bomb Hits Somali’s Govt Office

A Somali soldier is seen at the car bomb scene on September 2, 2018, in Mogadishu. A suicide car bomb killed three security guards and injured several more people in the heart of the Somali capital Mogadishu. Abdirazak Hussein FARAH / AFP

 

A suspected car bomb exploded outside a local government office in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Monday, leveling buildings and leaving an unknown number wounded, police said.

“The blast was huge and the initial information we are getting indicates it was a car loaded with explosives that targeted the Hodan district headquarters,” said police officer Ibrahim Mohamed.

He said a vehicle had rammed a security checkpoint then exploded.

“We don’t have the exact number of the casualties but there was a collapsed building under which people are injured,” he said.

The thick plume of smoke thrown up by the blast could be seen across the city.

“It caused a huge blast and there was dust everywhere,” said Osman Ali, who was close to the scene of the explosion.

“I saw four wounded people being rushed to the hospital.”

Images from the scene showed collapsed buildings — including a mosque — with rescue workers and civilians picking through the debris.

AFP

Car Bombs Kill 18 In Somali Capital

 

This file photo shows the scene of a car bombing in Mogadishu on October 29, 2017. Photo: Mohamed ABDIWAHAB / AFP

 

At least 18 people were killed and 20 wounded when two car bombs exploded on Friday near the presidential palace and a hotel in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, the city’s main ambulance service said.

Jihadist rebels claimed the attack.

“We have so far collected 18 bodies and 20 wounded persons from one of the blast scenes,” Abdukadir Abdurahman Aden of the Aamin Ambulance told AFP.

The bombings targeted the presidential palace and a city hotel, police said.

The first blast, followed by gunfire, occurred at a checkpoint close to Villa Somalia, the name for the seat of government, while a second followed soon after at a hotel.

“I can confirm an attack in the vicinity of the presidential palace,” said police officer Ibrahim Mohamed.

“Another car loaded with explosives went off close to a recently opened hotel,” Mohamed added.

The Shabaab Islamist militant group claimed the attacks in a statement posted online, saying it was targeting the government and security services.

The blasts follow weeks of relative calm in Mogadishu.

According to officials, the main attack involved the use of a vehicle loaded with explosives attempting to breach a checkpoint leading to the presidential palace but security forces prevented the assault.

“The security forces foiled the intent of the terrorists. They were aiming for key targets but they could not even go closer, there were five of them killed by the security force,” said Abdulahi Ahmed, a security officer.

“The situation is back to normal and the security forces are in control,” he added.

The Shabaab is fighting to overthrow Somalia’s internationally-backed government. In October it carried out its deadliest-ever bombing, killing over 500 people.

In the wake of that attack Somalia’s government declared a fresh offensive against the group and US drone strikes have increased in frequency.

While the militant group was pushed out of the capital in 2011 by an African Union force it continues to control large parts of the countryside and launches regular attacks on government, military and civilian targets.

AFP

Bomb Attack Kills Nine In Syria

A suicide car bomb attack killed nine people in a government-held village in Syria’s Golan Heights on Friday, state media said, reporting clashes between government forces and rebels afterward.

State news agency SANA said the car bomb hit the outskirts of the village of Hader, which lies near the disengagement line that divides the Syrian-controlled part of the Golan from that occupied by Israel.

“A suicide bomber from Al-Nusra Front detonated a car bomb in the midst of the homes of citizens on the outskirts of Hader, killing nine people and injuring at least 23,” the agency said.

Al-Nusra Front is the old name for a jihadist group that was formerly Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria and is now known as the Fateh al-Sham Front.

“In the aftermath of the terrorist attack, terrorist groups carried out a heavy attack on Hader, and army units and the Popular Defence units (pro-government militants) clashed with the attackers,” it added.

SANA said the toll was expected to rise because a number of those wounded in the bombing were in serious condition and the ongoing assault on the town made it difficult to remove the injured to safety.

Hader is a majority-Druze village and has been attacked in the past by rebel and jihadist groups.

It lies in southwestern Syria’s Quneitra province, around 70 percent of which is held by either rebel or jihadist groups, with the government controlling the other 30 percent, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor.

AFP

Many Killed As As Car Bombs Explode In Mogadishu

This file photo taken on October 15, 2017, shows Somali soldiers patrolling on the scene of the explosion of a truck bomb in the centre of Mogadishu. Mohamed ABDIWAHAB / AFP

A car packed with explosives blew up outside a hotel in Mogadishu on Saturday as a minibus also exploded at a nearby junction, with the emergency services reporting “many dead bodies”.

Witnesses reported hearing gunfire and said the entire area around the Nasa Hablod hotel was sealed off by security forces to keep people away.

“A car loaded with explosives went off at the entrance of Nasa Hablod Hotel and there is gunfire,” police official Ibrahim Mohamed told AFP, saying it looked like a coordinated attack.

“There was another minibus loaded with explosives which went off a nearby intersection,” he said, confirming there were casualties but without giving an initial number.

The blasts occurred just two weeks after a huge truck bombing in the Somali capital which killed at least 358 people, making it the deadliest attack in the country’s history.

Somalia’s Aamin ambulance service said there were “many dead bodies” in a posting on its official Twitter feed, adding that it had already evacuated 15 wounded people from the area.

An AFP correspondent at the scene also reported seeing two people lying on the ground but their condition was not immediately clear.

The Nasa Hablod is a popular hotel located in the north of the city.

AFP

At Least 30 People Dead In Yemen Deadly Car Bomb Attack

Policemen look at the wreckage of a car at the scene of a car bomb outside the police college in SanaaA car bomb exploded outside a police college in Yemen’s capital Sanaa on Wednesday, killing about 30 people and wounding more than 50, police sources said .

The car bomb was detonated beside people queuing to enroll in the police force, police officials said.

Witnesses said the blast was heard across the city and a large plume of smoke was seen

The bomber parked his vehicle in the middle of the road and then boarded another that was waiting for him, said AbdulBari Al Shamiri, a witness to the explosion.

“As soon as he left the scene, everyone 100 meters from the explosion was killed or injured,” Al Shamiri said.

No group has so far said it was behind the blast. However, jihadist militants belonging to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have in the past targeted the security forces.

“The situation is catastrophic. We arrived to find bodies piled on top of each other,” a paramedic at the scene told Reuters as ambulances took casualties away.

“We found the top part of one person yelling, while his bottom half was completely severed.”

A policeman told Reuters that another car had been passing as the bomb went off and was set on fire along with everyone inside.

The Interior Ministry said it was halting registration at the police college, which takes place every year, for a week.

On Jan. 1 a suicide bomber killed at least 26 people at a cultural center in the central Yemeni city of Ibb in an attack that appeared to target the Houthi Shi’ite Muslim militia that seized the capital in September and advanced into other areas.

Most attacks in the past four years have targeted Yemen’s security infrastructure. A suicide bomber killed more than 90 people in May 2012 at a military parade, and a coordinated assault on a military hospital a year ago killed more than 50.