30 killed in Somalia explosions

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Two car bombs exploded Saturday at a busy junction in Somalia’s capital near key government offices, leaving “scores of civilian casualties” including children, national police said. One hospital worker counted at least 30 bodies.

The attack in Mogadishu occurred on a day when the president, prime minister and other senior officials were meeting to discuss combating violent extremism, especially by the al-Qaida-affiliated al-Shabab group that often targets the capital. It also came five years after another massive blast in the exact same location killed over 500 people.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Al-Shabab rarely claims attacks with large numbers of civilians killed, as in the 2017 blast. But Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre blamed al-Shabab by name.

A volunteer at the Medina hospital, Hassan Osman, said “out of the total of at least 30 dead people brought to the hospital, the majority of them are women. I have seen this with my own eyes.” At the hospital, frantic relatives peeked under plastic sheeting and into body bags, looking for loved ones.—AP

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