Mogadishu, Somalia — 30 people are dead after a large truck laden with explosives detonated in front of a busy hotel within the capital city of Mogadishu. In a report for Reuters, Mogadishu police officials described absolute carnage surrounding the popular Safari Hotel with body parts strewn several hundred feet from the blast site, in addition to reports that dozens more people are likely killed or injured after the sheer size of the truck bomb collapsed a large portion of the hotel itself.
Mogadishu police officials also reported that they had received a tip that a large truck full of explosives known as a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) was en route to its target and were attempting to intercept the vehicle along the busy K5 district roadway when the perpetrators pulled up the VBIED next to the Safari Hotel. The attackers then detonated the truck’s payload, which ripped apart both brick and bone leaving a gaping maw in the wall of the hotel grounds, as well as collapsing a large section of the building which officials fear have trapped even more in the rubble.
— David Concar (@DConcar) October 14, 2017
Shortly after the massive explosion, up to four unknown gunmen entered the hotel grounds and began shooting the survivors of the blast. Security forces –along with armed hotel guards surviving or near the blast began engaging the attackers. It is unknown if the security forces were able to kill or capture any of the attackers.
— Farah Bashir (@FarahBashirs) October 14, 2017
As of now, no one has claimed responsibility, however this type of attack where a car-bomb is used to initiate an attack followed by gunmen swarming the target and killing survivors is the modus operandi of the al-Qaeda -linked terrorist group known as Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (HSM). Al-Shabaab who is a Somalia based terror group has been actively trying to usurp its version of strict Salafist sharia law throughout Somalia and East Africa.
Al-Shabaab has been attempting to stall the Somali government’s offensive against the group who has been the target of both joint U.S. and Somali Special Operations raids, cobbled with increased U.S. airstrikes on key leadership and its basecamps hidden within the rural areas of the Lower Shabelle.
The “War on Shabaab” was announced by the newly elected Somali president, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo in mid April in conjunction with the Trump administration’s approval for more relaxed rules of engagement in regards for both U.S. air and ground units assigned to assist Somalia in ridding the country of the terror group al-Shabaab.
Feature image courtesy of: Reuters