Mogadishu, Oct 30 (EFE).- Two car bombs at a busy junction in the Somalian capital killed at least 25 and injured 45 more, police said Sunday, amid fears that the toll may rise.
The Saturday attack occurred some 1.5 km from the Jazeera Palace Hotel, where President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre, and the leaders of the five federal member states were meeting, police spokesperson Sadik Dodishe told EFE,
The president met with state leaders in Mogadishu to promote peaceful coexistence and discuss extremist threats.
Dodishe said the apparent target was the president, but the attackers could not reach the venue and detonated the bombs near the education ministry at the busy Zoobe junction.
Somali Islamist group Al Shabab claimed the attack, warning to continue hitting government infrastructure.
The president said it was a “cruel and cowardly terrorist attack on innocent people by the morally bankrupt and criminal al-Shabab group.”
Mohamud said such attacks could not “discourage us but will further strengthen our resolve to defeat them once and for all.”
“Our government and brave people will continue to defend Somalia against evil.”
The Somali police spokesperson said women and children were among the dead.
He said the authorities were still counting the dead.
According to police sources cited by local media and the Somali Journalists Union, the deceased included a police commander and a well-known Somali journalist.
A Reuters photojournalist and a Voice of America contributor also suffered wounds.
In October 2017, 587 people died at the same Zoobe intersection hit by a truck bomb attack.
The country in the horn of Africa has seen an escalation in violence in the backdrop of President Mohamud declaring a “total war” against al-Shabab in August.
The vow came a day after the group staged a deadly hotel siege in Mogadishu that killed 21 people and wounded more than 100 others.
The militant group has often claimed responsibility for the attacks in the capital.
The al-Qaeda affiliate aims to expel all foreign forces from Somalia and establish a strict Islamic state.
Somalia has been in a state of war since 1991 when the toppling of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre left the country without an effective government and vulnerable to Islamic militants, warlords, and criminal groups.
The group controls rural areas of central and southern Somalia and also conducts attacks in neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia. EFE