Shabaab targets Mogadishu with series of car bombings

Earlier today, a car bombing on the busy street of Maka al Mukarama in Mogadishu left one person dead and nine others wounded. Today’s attack is only the latest in an increase of car bombings in the Somali capital this year.

Local sources reported this morning that an explosives-laden car detonated near a cafe and hotel on Maka al Mukarama, a busy street often targeted by similar attacks. This morning’s bombing was similar to a bombing on the same street on August 27.

While no group has yet to claim responsibility for either operation, Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa, is widely suspected. The jihadist group has been behind most car bombings in the city.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been at least 32 car bombings in Mogadishu. These attacks have left at least 242 people killed or wounded, according to data compiled by FDD’s Long War Journal. The operations include both remote detonations of explosive-laden vehicles, as well as suicide car bombings.

At least 10 of these bombings have been assassination attempts against Somali military, intelligence, and government personnel, as well as Somali journalists. Eight of the 32 instances occurred on the aforementioned Maka al Mukarama street. Shabaab has claimed the vast majority of these attacks.

These bombings include a targeted assassination of several high-ranking Somali military officials on April 9. At least 15 soldiers, including several officers, were killed as their convoy passed a Shabaab car bomb. In February, 30 people were killed when Shabaab targeted a busy market. A month earlier, two suicide car bombs killed over 30 people in an assault on the Somali parliament building.

List of car bombs in Mogadishu so far this year:

Sept. 11 – Car bomb killed one and injured four near a cafe and hotel on Maka al Mukarama street.

Aug. 27 – Car bomb injured two on Maka al Mukarama street.

Aug. 14 – An IED fitted under a taxi killed at least one near the Jazeera Palace hotel.

Aug. 10 – A suicide bomber was stopped at a security checkpoint on Maka al Mukarama street and fled the scene. The car bomb would later detonate killing one civilian and wounding three others.

Aug. 4 – Four people were killed and six others wounded in a car bomb that targeted the Ambassador Hotel on Maka al Mukarama street.

July 31 – A Somali intelligence official was targeted by an IED attached to his car. The official and two civilians were wounded.

July 30 – Five soldiers were killed by a car bomb near a security checkpoint on Maka al Mukarama street.

July 19 – A car bomb detonated outside the Ministry of Youth and Sports headquarters wounding one Somali intelligence official.

June 22 – A police station on Maka al Mukarama street was targeted by a car bomb.

June 20 – Six people were killed when a car bomb went off near a local government administration office in Mogadishu’s Wadajir district.

June 14 – Eleven people were killed near a popular restaurant and hotel in a Shabaab suicide assault involving one suicide car bomb.

May 24 – Eight people were killed and 15 others wounded in a car bomb targeting a police checkpoint.

May 17 – A car bomb was intercepted and later accidentally detonated killing three and wounding two others.

May 15 – Police stopped and destroyed a car bomb targeting the National Theater in a controlled-detonation.

May 8 – A popular cafe on Maka al Mukarama street was hit by a car bomb leaving five dead and 10 others wounded.

May 7 – A Somali intelligence official survived an assassination attempt after an IED fitted to his car exploded on Maka al Mukarama street.

April 9 – 15 Somali soldiers were killed, including several high-ranking officers, and 20 others were wounded when their convoy passed a Shabaab car bomb.

April 5 – Eight people were killed outside the Ministry of Youth and Sports headquarters by a car bomb.

Mar. 24 – A car bomb targeted a popular cafe and hotel near the presidential palace.

Mar. 21 – Ten people were killed and 12 others wounded when a massive car bomb detonated at a security checkpoint.

Mar. 13 – A Somali military base in Mogadishu was targeted, killing three and wounding five.

Mar. 13 – On the same day, a popular hotel was also hit leaving six dead.

Mar. 12 – A Somali journalist survived an assassination attempt after an IED fitted to his car exploded.

Feb. 28 – A Somali government official was killed in an assassination after an IED fitted under the driver’s seat of his car exploded.

Feb. 27 – Several Somali soldiers were wounded by a car bomb.

Feb. 19 – A massive car bomb targeted a market killing at least 30 people.

Feb. 2 – One civilian was injured after a car bomb exploded near his house.

Jan. 25 – At least 25 people were killed in a Shabaab suicide assault on the Somali Parliament building. Two suicide car bombs were used in the assault.

Jan. 4 – Three UN soldiers were wounded near its headquarters in Mogadishu.

Jan. 2 – Two suicide car bombs targeted a security checkpoint near the airport and a hotel.

Caleb Weiss is an intern at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributor to The Long War Journal.

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