At least 11 people were believed killed when a car bomb detonated outside of a busy shopping center in Mogadishu, Somalia on Monday. Another ten people were injured in the blast, which is believed to be the work of al-Shabaab, an Islamic extremist group currently operating in the region. However, no group has yet claimed responsibility. According to a report from Al Jazeera, the bombing also caused a nearby building to collapse, which added to the casualty count.
“Several dead people were removed from a wrecked building at the blast scene. So far, the death toll is 11 civilians and 10 others injured,” said Mohamed Hussein, a Somalian police officer currently working the scene while speaking to Reuters.
“I saw the dead bodies of four people recovered from the debris of a collapsed building and three others were strewn dead outside after the blast had blown them,” said Munira Abdukadir, an eyewitness to Monday’s attack while speaking to Al Jazeera.
Al-Shabaab has a long history of attacking Somalian government facilities, as well as civilian targets. According to Reuters, al-Shabaab is loosely associated with al-Qaeda and wants to seize control of the government in order to implement sharia law. The group’s campaign of violence is not limited to Somalia. Last month, the terrorist organization killed 21 people in a hotel in Nairobi, Kenya.
The attack in Kenya was covered heavily in the western press due to the actions of an SAS trooper who organized a counter-attack with the help of local police. At the time, the SAS trooper was off-duty and has been nominated for the George’s Cross Award, the second-highest military medal a British service member can receive.
The United States is currently fighting al-Shabaab from the air. During the last two months, the U.S. launched several sorties against al-Shabaab fighters near Mogadishu in the town of Gandarshe, where they were preparing car bombs for upcoming attacks. According to a report from the U.S. military’s Africa Command (AFRICOM), 62 al-Shabaab terrorists died in the strikes, and another 24 were killed in the nearby Hiran region.
“Somali security forces continue to keep pressure on al-Shabaab, creating conditions for further political and economic development,” said U.S. Africa Command director of operations Marine Corps Major General Gregg Olson in a press release. “Somalia continues to demonstrate its commitment toward enhancing regional stability and security while degrading a transnational threat.”