Death toll from Mogadishu truck bomb rises to 276 in deadliest single attack ever in Somalia's capital

Death toll from Mogadishu truck bomb rises to 276 in deadliest single attack ever in Somalia's capitalThe death toll from a truck bomb that exploded near to a hotel and market in Mogadishu rose to 276 on Sunday, making it the worst terrorist atrocity in the country's history.  Saturday's savage attack targeted a busy street close to several important ministries in Somalia's capital. Officials say about 300 people were wounded. "This is the deadliest attack ever," police official Ibrahim Mohamed told AFP. "It is very difficult to get a precise number because the dead bodies were taken to different medical centres and some of them [were taken] directly by their relatives for burial." Most of the bodies in have been burnt beyond recognition, and police are braced for the number to rise due to the severity of the injuries sustained in the blast, which is the Horn Of Africa's deadliest single attack. Men and Somalian soldiers arrive on the site to rescue victims of the explosion of a truck bomb Credit: Mohamed ABDIWAHABMOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AFP/Getty Images Following the attack, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed declared three days of mourning. Crowds gathered in Mogadishu yesterday (SUN) with protesters condemning the bloodshed.  The Somali government blamed the attack on Al-Shabaab, an Islamist terror group that has fought a long running insurgency against Mogadishu. The Al-Qaeda affiliated organisation had not claimed responsibility for the attack Sunday evening. Al-Shabaab has carried out multiple recent attacks on the city using grenades, guns and bombs in its quest to topple the government, which is backed by the UN, and rock the African Union.  In January, the group killed at least 28 by ramming a car bomb into a hotel near parliament and then detonating a second device when ambulances arrived on the scene. In June it murdered 31 in an attack on a pizza restaurant. Civilians evacuate from the scene of the explosion Credit: REUTERS/Feisal Omar The organisation was forced out of Mogadishu in 2011, and has recently suffered a series of severe territorial losses to African Union peacekeepers and government troops, supported by US drone strikes.  "They don't care about the lives of Somali people, mothers, fathers and children," Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire said of the weekend's bombing. "They have targeted the most populated area in Mogadishu, killing only civilians." Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Sunday: “The UK condemns in the strongest terms the cowardly attacks in Mogadishu, which have claimed so many innocent lives.  “Those responsible have shown no regard for human life or the suffering of the Somali people. The UK will continue to support Somalia in the fight against terrorism.” A Somali soldier helps a wounded civilian Credit: AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh Despite the frequency of attacks on Mogadishu, the scale of the blast over the weekend has left the city reeling. Concrete buildings in the Hodan district were flattened by the explosion, with cars set on fire and smoke hanging heavy in the air. Hospitals put out desperate pleas for blood donations, and dazed people searched through piles of rubble, metal and bloodied sandals looking for family members. "With a heavy heart I would say this is the worst attack I have ever witnessed," Masoud Mohamed, who lost family members in the blast, told AP. Among those reported to have died in the attack are three brothers who worked at a nearby shopping centre, four volunteers with the Somali Red Crescent Society, and a local freelance journalist.



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