“We are behind the martyrdom explosion … The Americans were our main target.” “Bomber hits peacekeepers in Somalia, two civilians dead,” by Abdi Sheikh for Reuters, July 12 (thanks to Twostellas):
MOGADISHU, July 12 (Reuters) – A suicide bomber rammed a vehicle packed with explosives into an African peacekeeping convoy in the Somali capital on Friday, killing two civilians in the latest attack to expose the fragility of recent security gains.
The blast was claimed by Islamist al Shabaab rebels who carried out a deadly assault on a nearby United Nations base last month and another bombing in a Mogadishu market this week.
Al Shabaab was pushed out of bases in Mogadishu by Somali and African forces about two years ago, raising hopes of a return to relative security in a city hit by years of war.
But the militants have kept up guerrilla-style attacks and continue to control large rural areas, challenging the authority of a government less than one year old.
Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, told Reuters the convoy was carrying a number of American officials – a report that could not be confirmed independently.
“We are behind the martyrdom explosion … The Americans were our main target,” he added.
The blast flattened makeshift shops on Maka Al Mukarama road in central Mogadishu and ripped the wheels off one vehicle belonging to the country’s African Union peacekeeping force.
The bodies of two civilians were pulled out of the wreckage, a Reuters witness said.
No peacekeepers died but a number of people were wounded, said an official from the Mogadishu mayor’s office.
“We shall not bury the remains of the bomber. We shall throw them into the rubbish pit,” the mayor’s secretary, Abdikafi Hilowle, told reporters at the scene.
“If al Shabaab are Muslims, they would not kill Muslims during Ramadan,” he said, referring to the holy Islamic month which began this week….
Yeah, that never happens.