MOGADISHU, SOMALIA – At least 100 people are dead after two car bombs rocked the Somali capital of Mogadishu, Police Captain Farah Osman said Sunday
The attacks happened Saturday.
The initial explosion destroyed dozens of stalls and a popular hotel in the heart of the city.
Qatar’s Embassy was also severely damaged, according to a statement from its Ministry of Foreign Affairs. One member of the embassy staff suffered minor injuries, the statement said.
Minutes after the first blast, a second vehicle bomb went off nearby.
There have been no claims of responsibility.
Security forces had been tipped off about the vehicle carrying explosives and were pursuing it in the busy K5 district of the city when the explosion happened, said Col. Ahmed Hassan of the Mogadishu police.
Footage from the scene showed damaged buildings and a burning truck at the first blast site. A large white building had collapsed into a pile of rubble and other structures appeared blackened and destroyed.
Other videos from the scene posted on social media showed a huge plume of black smoke rising from the blast site.
The UK ambassador to Somalia, David Concar, tweeted that the blast was clearly audible from inside the British Embassy. He also posted a video clip showing thick, dark smoke on the skyline.
Mogadishu, a large city on the east African nation’s coast, has endured high levels of violence in recent years.
Al-Shabaab, an al Qaeda-linked terror group, has carried out several deadly car bomb attacks in the city this year.
Somalis also face another threat — starvation.
The country is in the midst of a severe drought and 3.1 million people are threatened by famine because of the food shortages and violence, according to reports from the United Nations this year.