Turkish Embassy Staff Bombed in Somalia

A minivan packed with explosives exploded outside the building housing Turkish embassy staff yesterday.

The blast occurred at 5pm according to Colonel Ahmed Mohamud of the Mogadishu police.
Witnesses said the van rammed into the gates of the building and exploded.

Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Levent Gümrükçü told Anadolu news agency that two of the three bombers were killed in the attack, while another three Turkish security personnel were injured.

Al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab rebels claimed responsibility for the attack via Twitter. It said Turkey was one of the countries that supported the Somali government and wanted to stop the establishment of Sharia.

Al-Shabab, which had been in control of parts of Mogadishu for more than two years, withdrew in August 2011 under pressure from pro-government forces, but continues to launch occasional suicide attacks in the city.

The group has carried out several brazen attacks in the past two months, including one on an African peacekeeping convoy that killed eight and another on the main U.N. compound in Mogadishu that killed 22 people.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud blasted what he called “an act of cowardly desperation by terrorists” against one of his nation’s “most determined and dependable allies.” He lauded Turkey’s “tireless efforts” over the past two years to help build new schools and hospitals, among other contributions.

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