Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia has claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing in the capital, Mogadishu, over the weekend, and the death toll from the terrorist attack has risen to 90 people.
The al-Shabab terrorist group claimed responsibility for the blast that took place at the busy Ex-Control checkpoint, northwest of Mogadishu, on Saturday.
“The blast targeted a convoy of Turkish and Somali forces and they suffered great loss,” a spokesman for al-Shabab said in an audio message on Monday.
Meanwhile, an international organization, which did not want to be named, said the death toll had risen to 90, adding that university students and 17 police officers were among the victims, Reuters reported.
A Somali MP also confirmed the report, saying in a tweet that he had been told the death toll was more than 90.
Two Turkish citizens were among the dead, as a small team of Turkish engineers was present at the time of the explosion, constructing a road into the city.
Turkey on Sunday dispatched a military plane with medics to help with the treatment of the wounded and to evacuate some of them.
Meanwhile, the Somali intelligence agency said a foreign country had planned the attack.
“A foreign country planned the massacre of the Somalis in Mogadishu on Dec 28, 2019,” the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) said in a tweet, without naming the country.
Somalia has become an arena for diplomatic rivalry between Turkey and Qatar on the one side and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on the other in recent years.
NISA also said it would use assistance from an unnamed foreign intelligence organization in its investigation of the attack.
Al-Shabab has been carrying out attacks in Somalia since 2006. It has pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda more recently. The deadliest attack blamed on the Takfiri group took place in 2017, when a truck bomb went off next to a fuel tanker in Mogadishu, leaving about 600 people dead.