Police say that two car bombs targeting the homes of government officials have killed at least 35 people. The Al-Shabab terror group has claimed responsibility.
The death toll following two car bombs in Somalia has risen to 35 according to Reuters news agency, citing a senior local police official.
The blasts took place earlier on Wednesday in the town of Mahas in Somalia’s central Hiraan region.
“Most of the dead are civilians. They are women and children,” Hassan-Kafi Mohamed Ibrahim, deputy police
commissioner of Hirshabelle State, told Reuters.
What do we know about the car bomb attacks?
State radio reported that the homes of a district commissioner and federal lawmaker were the targets.
Terror group Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack and also claimed the number of dead was far higher than the number provided by authorities.
A local community leader said that dozens of wounded people had been transported to Mogadishu for treatment.
Local authorities believe the attacks in Mahas are retaliation for government operations against the militants. Government forces and militias have received backing from the United States and African Union in their offensive against Al-Shabab.
The Al-Shabab insurgency in Somalia
The militant group has been locked in an insurgency with government forces since 2007. and while it has been forced out of urban centers, it has managed to remain rooted in the rural central and southern parts of the country.
There have been a string of deadly attacks in recent months. In October, twin car bombs targeting the education ministry killed at least 100 people in Mogadishu.
Also in October, bomb blasts in the city of Beledweyne left at least 30 dead.
In November at eight civilians and six soldiers were killed when the terror group laid siege to a hotel in the capital. This followed a previous attack on a Mogadishu hotel in August which left at least 21 people dead.
kb/rt (Reuters, AFP)