— Guido Mastrangelo (@GuidoGma) October 14, 2017
More than 230 people were killed and hundreds more wounded in a pair of car bombings in the Somali capital of Mogadishu yesterday. One of the two blasts, which targeted a hotel in a commercial area of the city, became the most deadly in Mogadishu to date.
The first bomb targeted the Safari Hotel in the K5 junction of the capital’s Hodon district, where many government buildings and stores are located. Four jihadists then followed up that massive blast with an assault on targeted security guards and civilians at the Safari, Al Jazeera reported. Somali officials have put the death toll at over 200, according to Garowe Online.
Video published on Twitter (above) shows the devastation after the blast. The hotel is reportedly in ruins after the assault.
While no group has yet to claim credit for the attack, suicide assaults targeting hotels populated with governmental officials is a common tactic used by Shabaab. The al Qaeda branch has targeted many hotels in Mogadishu using this tactic.
A second car bomb occurred in the Madina district of Mogadishu. That explosion killed at least two other people and wounded many others.
Yesterday’s attacks took place as the US military has stepped up its operations against Shabaab’s network in Somalia and East Africa. The US has launched 15 airstrikes against Shabaab leaders, fighters, training camps, logistic nodes, and military formations since the beginning of 2017. One of the strikes, on July 30, killed Ali Jabal, a Shabaab commander who led forces and conducted attacks in Mogadishu and the Banadir region. After he was killed, US Africa Command said that his removal from the battlefield would significantly degrade Shabaab’s ability to coordinate attacks in the capital and in southern Somalia.
Shabaab continues attacks in Mogadishu
Since the beginning of the year, there have been at least 36 car bombings in Mogadishu. These attacks have killed or wounded at least 771 people, according to data compiled by FDD’s Long War Journal. The operations include remotely detonated vehicles, suicide car bombings, and suicide assaults.
At least 11 of these attacks have been assassination attempts against Somali military, intelligence, and government personnel, as well as Somali journalists. Eight of the 36 instances occurred on Maka al Mukarama street in Mogadishu. Shabaab has claimed the vast majority of these attacks.
These bombings include the 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 bombings to rock Mogadishu so far in 2017:
Oct. 14 – Two massive car bombs at the K5 junction and in Madina district of Mogadishu kill at least 200 people.
Sept. 28 – A car bomb outside of a popular restaurant killed seven people.
Sept. 20 – A Somali intelligence official was assassinated after a bomb fitted into his car exploded in Mogadishu.
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.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of The Long War Journal. Caleb Weiss is an intern at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributor to The Long War Journal.