Explosions Near Somalia’s Presidential Palace Kill at Least 22 People

MOGADISHU, Somalia (dpa/TNS) -
somalia bomb
(AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

Somali police say at least 22 people died Saturday in attacks near the presidential palace in the capital Mogadishu that have been claimed by the Islamist terrorist group al-Shabab.

More than 30 others were injured in the bombings Saturday morning, police officer Ahmed Bashane said.

Among the dead were several police officers and civilians.

Mohamed Abdullahi Tuulah, the deputy mayor of Mogadishu, survived but said several of his bodyguards were killed. A Somali Parliament member was injured, Tuullah said.

An explosives-laden vehicle blew up at a military checkpoint near the palace and the National Theatre around 9:30 a.m., damaging nearby buildings. The suicide attacker detonated his explosives as security forces searched the vehicle, officer Ali Hassan Kulmiye said. The loud boom was heard across the city on what is a normal business day in Somalia.

The blast was followed by another car bomb a short time later in the same area, which was already packed with police and medics.

Video posted on social media showed bodies strewn across the street, some of them wearing police uniforms.

A prominent Somali journalist, Awil Dahir Salad, died in the attacks, according to the London-based Somali broadcaster he worked for, Universal Television.

Al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab took responsibility for the attack on pro-insurgent radio station Andalus.

Al-Shabab is seeking to establish a fundamentalist Islamist state in Somalia. They routinely launch attacks on government buildings, hotels and restaurants in the Horn of Africa nation.