Al-Shabaab terror attack targets Mogadishu hotel frequented by Somali lawmakers, police say
Mogadishu, Somalia — The suicide car bomb attack by Somali al-Shabaab militants struck Friday near the U.N.’s U.N. Mission compound where Somali lawmakers and state officials are based, killing at least six people and injuring dozens, officials said.
The attack on the U.N. compound took place just before evening prayers, when dozens of Somali lawmakers, ministers and other officials were gathering there for a series of meetings on the country’s first parliamentary session.
The blast in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, packed with U.N. workers and their families, killed at least six people, two of them U.N. employees and a Somali official, according to the U.N. Department of Safety and Security.
A senior police officer said that the blast occurred at 8:30 p.m., but late reports said the first blast occurred around 9:30 p.m.
“They are saying that a suicide car bomb was detonated, but they are also saying that it hit two cars,” Police Spokesman Major General Mohamed Hussein said, adding that police had yet to confirm the number of casualties.
Witnesses told reporters at the scene that there was a huge explosion and then about 30 minutes later, another explosion. There were “hundreds” of cars at the scene, he added.
Somali police confirmed that they had found an explosive device in the area where the blast occurred and that there was a second blast after the first.
“We are looking for a suicide bomber and have arrested a member of al-Shabaab who carried out the attack in Mogadishu,” Hussein said.
The explosion occurred when a passenger car struck a minibus carrying Somali lawmakers, security and intelligence officials and their family members.
Mogadishu police spokesman Ali Dhere told the AP that the second blast, while weaker, also ripped the vehicle apart.
The car in which the bomb was detonated was part of a min