A huge explosion rocked the Somali capital Mogadishu early Thursday, triggering a plume of smoke that rose from the blast site amid gunfire, according to a Reuters witness.
Witnesses say a large explosion occurred in a busy area of the Somali capital during the morning rush hour, killing at least five people. Fifteen injured were rushed to a hospital, Amin’s ambulance service told the Associated Press (AP).
The explosion that occurred near the K4 junction in the heart of Mogadishu was so huge that it collapsed the walls of nearby schools and also left mutilated cars.
“We were shaken by the pressure of the explosion, then deafened by the gunfire that followed,” Mohamed Hussein, a nurse at the nearby Osman hospital, told Reuters. He added that he had been extracted from the rubble of a collapsed ceiling.
“The walls of our hospital collapsed. In front of us is a school which also collapsed. I don’t know how many died,” he said.
There was no immediate confirmation of a death toll.
The extremist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility. In a statement released by its Andalus radio, the group said it was targeting Western officials escorted by the African Union (AU) peacekeeping convoy. But a witness, Hassan Ali, told the AP that a private security company was escorting those responsible and said he saw four of the security personnel injured. The al-Qaida-linked group frequently targets the capital with attacks.