Al-Shabaab targets Somalia's capital after facing military pressure
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Al-Shabaab on Friday targeted Somalia's capital Mogadishu, in an incident which comes at the time the country has embarked on nationwide operations against the group, which still controls huge swathes of rural central and southern Somalia.
According to officials, the militants killed five civilians in a suicide bomber at a busy restaurant, critically wounding six others, who are currently undergoing treatment in the capital. This was the first attack in the busy city in as many months, given security surveillance.
Sadik Aden Ali Doodishe, Somalia's police spokesperson, confirmed the attack, noting that it was engineered by a suicide bomber. The militants have been lately using suicide bombers while targeting strategic towns in the country, officials said.
“A man wearing an explosive belt entered the restaurant and blew himself up. As of now, we can tell you that five people were killed," the spokesperson told reporters in Mogadishu moments after the attack.
The attack, the spokesperson of police said, happened near the presidential palace, which has been the target of the militants for quite some time. Multiple civilian casualties and heavy police presence at the bombing site, eyewitnesses said.
A few days ago, the militants engineered a twin-car blast in Dhusamareb, the capital of Galmadug. The group has been carrying out sporadic retaliatory attacks against security forces following an intensive crackdown against them across the Federal Republic of Somalia.
Despite the unending onslaught on the people of Somalia, the government forces with assistance from the US Africa Command and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS], have managed to liberate several strategic towns, neutralizing the militants in the process.
Somalia is set to activate the second phase of operations against the group in Jubaland and Southwest, in what President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud refers to as "Operation Black Lion". The operation has been delayed due to combing exercise in central regions by security forces.