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At least 35 killed, 72 wounded in Somalia twin suicide blasts

The death toll in Wednesday’s twin suicide attacks in central Somalia has climbed to 35, including both civilians and soldiers, with another 72 people wounded.

Two suicide bombers of the Al Shabab terrorist group targeted two residential buildings in Mahas, a town in Somalia’s Hiran region, early on Wednesday.

The growing casualty count was confirmed on Thursday by Mumin Mohamed Halane, the town’s mayor, whose house was targeted along with the residence of federal parliamentarian Mahamed Abuukar Jacfar.

Halane told Anadolu Agency that his young son suffered serious injuries in the attack and was airlifted to the Somali-Türkiye Recep Tayyip Erdogan Hospital in the capital Mogadishu.

Other victims include nine members of a single family, he said.

“We have buried more than 30 people. Some of the bodies are beyond recognition,” said Halane.

He said the attackers are believed to have entered Mahas, which lies some 310 kilometers (190 miles) north of Mogadishu, from the bordering region of Galgadud.

Mohamed Ali, a resident of Mahas, told Anadolu Agency that he lost family members and friends in the attack.

“Yesterday was the worst day of my life. The explosion was the deadliest I have ever seen,” he said.

Al Shabab has claimed it killed more than 80 people, including senior military officials, and wounded another 130 in the bombings.

This was the Al Qaeda affiliate’s deadliest attack since the beginning of the year, and came as Somali forces, backed by local militias, are carrying out a major offensive against the terror group in the region.

Somalia has been plagued by insecurity for years, with Al Shabab being one of the main threats.

It has waged a deadly campaign against the Somali government and international forces since at least 2007, claiming thousands of lives.

The UN has warned of growing instability in the country, with periodic reports last year detailing attacks by Al Shabab and pro-Daesh terror groups.

There were at least 1,518 civilian casualties – 651 killed and 867 injured – in terror attacks in Somalia in 2018, followed by 1,459 – 591 killed and 868 injured – in 2019, according to UN estimates.

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