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Sunday, October 15

Death toll currently 189 from bomb blast in Somalia's capital, 200+ wounded UPDATED :9:40am EDT

UPDATE - NYT is calling this a twin bomb
At Least 189 Killed After Twin Bomb Attacks in Somalia - From The New York Times 
END UPDATE
VOA filed this report at "10:05 PM" (I'm assuming Somalia time) on October 14 and described the massive blast, which occurred on Saturday, as coming from a truck bomb that exploded near Zobe, a busy intersection in Somalia’s capital. The death toll has risen considerably since then: 

By Abdi Guled 
The Associated Press via The Washington Post
October 15 at 7:56 AM EDT

MOGADISHU, Somalia — The death toll from the most powerful bomb blast ever witnessed in Somalia’s capital rose to 189 with more than 200 injured, making it the deadliest single attack ever in the Horn of Africa nation, police and hospital sources said Sunday.

Doctors struggled to assist horrifically wounded victims, many burnt beyond recognition. Officials feared the toll would continue to climb from Saturday’s truck bomb that targeted a busy street near key ministries. Sources for the death toll spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to reporters.


Overnight, rescue workers with flashlights searched for survivors trapped under the rubble of the largely destroyed Safari Hotel, which is close to Somalia’s foreign ministry. The explosion blew off metal gates and blast walls erected outside the hotel.

Somalia’s government has blamed the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group for the attack it called a “national disaster.” However, al-Shabab, which often targets high-profile areas of the capital with bombings, had yet to comment.

“They don’t care about the lives of Somali people, mothers, fathers and children,” Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire said. “They have targeted the most populated area in Mogadishu, killing only civilians.”

Ambulance sirens still echoed across the city as bewildered families wandered in the rubble of buildings, looking for missing relatives. “In our 10 year experience as the first responder in Mogadishu, we haven’t seen anything like this,” the Aamin Ambulance service tweeted.


“The hospital is overwhelmed by both dead and wounded. We also received people whose limbs were cut away by the bomb. This is really horrendous, unlike any other time in the past,” said Dr. Mohamed Yusuf, the director of Medina hospital.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed declared three days of mourning and joined thousands of people who responded to a desperate plea by hospitals to donate blood for the wounded victims. “I am appealing all Somali people to come forward and donate,” he said.

Somalia’s information minister, Abdirahman Omar, said the blast was the largest the city had ever seen. “It’s a sad day. This how merciless and brutal they are, and we have to unite against them,” he said, speaking to the state-run radio station.

The United States joined the condemnation, saying “such cowardly attacks reinvigorate the commitment of the United States to assist our Somali and African Union partners to combat the scourge of terrorism.”

Grief overwhelmed many.

“There’s nothing I can say. We have lost everything,” wept Zainab Sharif, a mother of four who lost her husband. She sat outside a hospital where he was pronounced dead after hours of efforts by doctors to save him from an arterial injury.

[END REPORT]

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