Earlier today, several people were killed and dozens injured in a trio of coordinated suicide bombings, which included subsequent suicide assaults on a hotel frequented by Somali politicians. A second suicide bomber targeted security forces responding to the incident, while a third suicide bombing occurred when an attacker detonated his explosive vest inside the hotel. In total, at least 23 people have been killed while more than 30 have been injured.
Shabaab claimed credit for today’s bombings on both its Somali-language website, Al Andalus, and on its Shahada News Telegram channel. On Shahada, it reported that a “martyrdom and inghimasi attack” was underway on the Nasa Hablud hotel. The terms used indicated a suicide assault, a common tactic used by the group for targets like hotels. In a separate post, it claimed the second suicide car bombing was on security forces near the hotel.
It did not comment on the individual suicide bomber inside the hotel, but the very nature of an “inghimasi” – roughly translated to “commando” – mission implied the fighters are not meant to make it out alive. Shabaab militants were still holed up inside the hotel at reporting time.
Today’s bombings came just two weeks after the deadliest suicide car bombing to ever hit Mogadishu. In that attack, more than 300 people were killed after a truck bomb detonated outside a hotel. It is believed that a nearby fuel tanker exploded, adding to the carnage. The targeted hotel also collapsed, which also contributed to the high death toll.
Shabaab continues attacks in Mogadishu
Since the beginning of the year, there have been at least 38 car bombings in Mogadishu. These attacks have killed or wounded at least 870 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 Oct. 14 suicide car bombing which killed over 300 people. It also includes 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. 28 – A second suicide car bombing went off near the former Parliament house.
Oct. 28 – A suicide car bombing was used to breach a hotel perimeter, which killed 13 people, before an assault team entered.
Oct. 14 – Two massive car bombs at the K5 junction and in Madina district of Mogadishu kill over 300 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.
Caleb Weiss is an intern at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributor to The Long War Journal.