At least 79 killed in Mogadishu truck bomb

At least 79 people have been killed in a truck bomb explosion in the capital of Somalia, with one international organisation working in the country claiming the toll was more than 90. 

The blast at a security checkpoint in Mogadishu also left more than 90 civilians injured and killed mostly students returning to class, according to the city's mayor, Omar Muhamoud. Aamin Ambulance service director Abdiqadir Abdulrahman said that the number of injured was closer to 125 and that hundreds of locals residents donated blood in response to desperate appeals. Ahmed Awad, the country's foreign minister, called the victims "students with ambition" and "hardworking men and women", and said two Turkish citizens died in the attack. A small team of Turkish engineers were said to be present at the time of the blast, constructing a road into Mogadishu.

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Saturday is a working day in the Muslim country and the explosion occurred during the morning rush hour.

Rescuers carried bodies past the twisted wreckage of a vehicle. Citing an international organisation which did not want to be named, Reuters reported the death toll was more than 90 and that university students and 17 police officers were among those killed. Abdirizak Mohamed, a Somalian MP, earlier tweeted that the toll could be more than 90 people, with most being civilian casualties. The bomb targeted a tax collection centre, according to police.

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1/51 28 December 2019

Revellers dressed in mock military garb throw eggs as they take part in the "Els Enfarinats" battle in the southeastern Spanish town of Ibi on December 28, 2019. - During this 200-year-old traditional festival participants known as Els Enfarinats (those covered in flour) dress in military clothes and stage a mock coup d'etat as they battle using flour, eggs and firecrackers outside the city town hall as part of the celebrations of the Day of the Innocents, a traditional day in Spain for pulling pranks. AFP via Getty Images

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A freediver wearing a Father Christmas outfit poses underwater off the coast of the northern city of Batroun

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16/51 13 December 2019

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EPA

17/51 12 December 2019

A slow shutter speed shot shows oarsmen in traditional costume rowing during the Royal Barge Procession to mark the conclusion of the Royal Coronation ceremony, on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, Thailand. The ceremony honours King Rama X after his complete accession to the throne

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18/51 11 December 2019

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Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg arrives to participate in the event "Unite behind the science" within the UN Climate Change Conference COP25 in Madrid

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White Island (Whakaari) volcano, as it erupts, in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.

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People gather amidst the ruins of a building, destroyed during reported Syrian regime and Russian air strikes the previous day in the town of Balyun. The reported air raids killed 19 civilians, eight of them children, in the country's last major opposition bastion

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22/51 7December 2019

A French CGT unionist holds up the union's flag as he demonstrates against unemployment amidst smoke bombs in Nantes. The most serious nationwide strike to hit France in years caused new misery for weekend travellers, with defiant unions dismissing proposals by the government and warning walkouts would last well into next week

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23/51 6 December 2019

People stand on top of a collapsed six-storey building in Nairobi, Kenya.

Local media reported that several people are feared trapped as the rescue operation continues

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24/51 5 December 2019

Indonesia players celebrate a point during their match against Vietnam in the women's volleyball preliminary round of the Southeast Asian Games being held in the Philippines

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25/51 4 December 2019

Firefighters work to contain a large fire at an industrial building at Inlet Road inn Auckland, New Zealand

Getty

26/51 3 December 2019

Doan Quynh Nam Tran of Vietnam competes in the women's gymnastics at the SEA Games (Southeast Asian Games) in Manila

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27/51 2 December 2019

A youth plays on foamy discharge, caused by pollutants, as it mixes with the surf at a beach in Chennai

AFP via Getty

28/51 1 December 2019

Southeast Asian Games at the Royce Hotel, Mabalacat, Philippines. Vietnam's Pham Hong Anh in action during her single dance final. Reuters

29/51 30 November 2019

A woman holds a coloured flag at the Botswana Pride Parade in Gaborone.

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30/51 29 November 2019

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Reuters

31/51 28 November 2019

Pro-democracy protesters hold an SOS sign and US national flags during a Thanksgiving rally in Edinburgh Place, Hong Kong. Protesters were thanking US President Donald Trump for signing into a law 'The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act Hong Kong', provoking an angry backlash from the Chinese government. Hong Kong is in its sixth month of mass protests, which were originally triggered by a now withdrawn extradition bill, and have since turned into a wider pro-democracy movement

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32/51 27 November 2019

Rescuers with a dog search through the rubble of a collapsed building after an earthquake in Durres, western Albania

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33/51 26 November 2019

A shepherd leads a flock of sheep on a pontoon bridge in Allahabad

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects a female company belonging to 5492 troops

KCNA via Reuters

35/51 24 November 2019

A protester jumps between burning tires during ongoing anti-government protests in Basra, Iraq

Reuters

36/51 23 November 2019

Fans dressed as Star Wars characters during day three of the first Test between Australia and Pakistan at The Gabba in Australia

Getty

37/51 22 November 2019

Pope Francis speaks with religious leaders during a meeting at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand

Reuters

38/51 21 November 2019

A girl injured in last night's attack by the Syrian regime on a camp for displaced people near the Turkish border in Idlib, Syria is held up to the camera

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39/51 20 November 2019

Indian paramilitary soldiers detain a Congress party supporter during a protest against the withdrawal of Special Protection Group (SPG) cover to party president Sonia Gandhi, her children and former prime minister Manmohan Singh, in New Delh.

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40/51 19 November 2019

An image taken from a plane window shows Sydney shrouded in smoke from nearby bush fires

AAP Imagevia Reuters

41/51 18 November 2019

Protesters run for cover after riot police fired tear gas towards the bridge they were climbing down to the road below, to escape from Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Dozens escaped the besieged campus by lowering themselves on a rope from a footbridge to a highway. Once on the road they were seen being picked up by waiting motorcyclists

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42/51 17 November 2019

Anti-government protesters draped in Iraqi national flags walk into clouds of smoke from burning tires during a demonstration in the southern city of Basra, Iraq

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A protester wearing a yellow jacket waves a French flag in a fountain during a demonstration to mark the first anniversary of the "yellow vests" movement in Nice, France

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45/51 14 November 2019

A patient suffering from dengue fever receives medical treatment at an isolation ward at a hospital in Larkana, Pakistan.

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46/51 13 November 2019

An anti-government protester flashes the V-sign for victory in front of burning tyres used to block a main road at the entrance of Tripoli.

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An Israeli missile launching from the Iron Dome defence missile system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells. They were sent up to intercept rockets launched from the nearby Palestinian Gaza Strip.

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48/51 11 November 2019

A species of deer thought to be extinct, the chevrotain, has been spotted for the first time in 30 years in the wilds of Vietnam. The deer is around the size of a domestic cat

SIE/GWC/Leibniz-IZW/NCNP /SWNS.C

49/51 10 November 2019

The royal motorcade of Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, under tight security, passes through a street in Tokyo. Thousands of people gathered for the rare open-top car parade featuring the newly enthroned Emperor

Kyodo News via AP

50/51 9 November 2019

People knock over a mock-up of the former Berlin Wall during a performance prior to the German first division Bundesliga football match Hertha BSC Berlin v RB Leipzig on the 30 anniversary of the fall off the wall

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51/51 8 November 2019

Flames from an out of control bushfire from a nearby residential area in Harrington, northeast of Sydney.

Australian firefighters warned they were in "uncharted territory" as they struggled to contain dozens of out-of-control bushfires across the east of the country

Kelly-ann Oosterbeek/AFP/Getty

1/51 28 December 2019

Revellers dressed in mock military garb throw eggs as they take part in the "Els Enfarinats" battle in the southeastern Spanish town of Ibi on December 28, 2019. - During this 200-year-old traditional festival participants known as Els Enfarinats (those covered in flour) dress in military clothes and stage a mock coup d'etat as they battle using flour, eggs and firecrackers outside the city town hall as part of the celebrations of the Day of the Innocents, a traditional day in Spain for pulling pranks. AFP via Getty Images

2/51 27 December 2019

The Panamanian-flag cargo ship "Zelek Star" is pictured after being washed up on a beach in the southern Israeli coastal city of Ashdod during a storm

AFP via Getty Images

3/51 26 December 2019

Monks wearing solar filter glasses watch the "ring of fire" solar eclipse at the Gaden monastery in a Tibetan colony in Teginkoppa, India

AFP via Getty

4/51 25 December 2019

A participant in a Darth Vader costume jumps into the water during the 110th edition of the 'Copa Nadal' (Christmas Cup) swimming competition in Barcelona's Port Vell. The traditional 200-meter Christmas swimming race included more than 300 participants on Barcelona's old harbour

AFP/Getty

5/51 24 December 2019

Children dressed as Santa Claus during celebrations on Christmas Eve at a school in Amritsar

AFP via Getty

6/51 23 December 2019

Palestinians wearing Christmas costumes distribute gifts to children seated atop the rubble of a house demolished by Israel, reportedly for not being built with official licensing in the village of al-Khader, west of of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank

AFP via Getty

7/51 22 December 2019

A journalist gets pepper-sprayed after a heated exchange with police during a rally in Hong Kong to show support for the Uighur minority in China.

Hong Kong riot police broke up a solidarity rally for China's Uighurs -- with one officer drawing a pistol -- as the city's pro-democracy movement likened their plight to that of the oppressed Muslim minority

AFP via Getty

8/51 21 December 2019

Children react as a Bengal tiger licks the glass surrounding its enclosure during the "Animal Christmas Party", where the youths were treated to a tour of the Malabon Zoo, in Manila

AFP via Getty

9/51 20 December 2019

In this long exposure photo, the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the Boeing Starliner crew capsule lifts off on an orbital flight test to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral

AP

10/51 19 December 2019

A freediver wearing a Father Christmas outfit poses underwater off the coast of the northern city of Batroun

AFP via Getty

11/51 18 December 2019

People rally in support of the impeachment of US President Donald Trump in front of the US Capitol, as the House readies for the historic vote

AFP via Getty

12/51 17 December 2019

Protesters set fire to dumpsters and tires as they block a road in the southern Lebanese city of Sidon

AFP via Getty

13/51 16 December 2019

People ride a merry-go-round at the Christmas Market at the Red Square in Moscow

AFP via Getty

14/51 15 December 2019

The Red Rebels, part of the Extinction Rebellion Australia demonstrator group, participate in a climate protest rally in Sydney. The group rallied in front of the landmark Sydney Opera House demanding urgent climate action from Australia's government, as bushfire smoke choking the city caused health problems to spike

AFP via Getty

15/51 14 December 2019

Protesters block a road after setting buses on fire during a demonstration against the Indian government's Citizenship Amendment Bill in Howrah, on the outskirts of Kolkata, India. Protests against a divisive new citizenship law raged on as Washington and London issued travel warnings for northeast India following days of violent clashes that have killed two people so far

AFP via Getty

16/51 13 December 2019

A huge cloud of black smoke raises over a burning warehouse in the southern outskirts of Moscow.

There were no immediate reports of any casualties, but one fire fighter was injured and 25 ambulance cars and a special air testing vehicle are at the site, they added

EPA

17/51 12 December 2019

A slow shutter speed shot shows oarsmen in traditional costume rowing during the Royal Barge Procession to mark the conclusion of the Royal Coronation ceremony, on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, Thailand. The ceremony honours King Rama X after his complete accession to the throne

EPA

18/51 11 December 2019

A boy inspects his damaged home after after an attack near the Bagram Air Base in Kabul, Afghanistan, A powerful suicide bombing targeted an under-construction medical facility near the main American base north of the capital

AP

19/51 10 December 2019

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg arrives to participate in the event "Unite behind the science" within the UN Climate Change Conference COP25 in Madrid

AFP via Getty

20/51 9 December 2019

White Island (Whakaari) volcano, as it erupts, in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. According to police, at least five people have died in the volcanic erruption

EPA/Michael Schade

21/51 8 December 2019

People gather amidst the ruins of a building, destroyed during reported Syrian regime and Russian air strikes the previous day in the town of Balyun.

The reported air raids killed 19 civilians, eight of them children, in the country's last major opposition bastion

AFP via Getty

22/51 7December 2019

A French CGT unionist holds up the union's flag as he demonstrates against unemployment amidst smoke bombs in Nantes. The most serious nationwide strike to hit France in years caused new misery for weekend travellers, with defiant unions dismissing proposals by the government and warning walkouts would last well into next week

AFP via Getty

23/51 6 December 2019

People stand on top of a collapsed six-storey building in Nairobi, Kenya. Local media reported that several people are feared trapped as the rescue operation continues

EPA

24/51 5 December 2019

Indonesia players celebrate a point during their match against Vietnam in the women's volleyball preliminary round of the Southeast Asian Games being held in the Philippines

Reuters

25/51 4 December 2019

Firefighters work to contain a large fire at an industrial building at Inlet Road inn Auckland, New Zealand

Getty

26/51 3 December 2019

Doan Quynh Nam Tran of Vietnam competes in the women's gymnastics at the SEA Games (Southeast Asian Games) in Manila

AFP via Getty

27/51 2 December 2019

A youth plays on foamy discharge, caused by pollutants, as it mixes with the surf at a beach in Chennai

AFP via Getty

28/51 1 December 2019

Southeast Asian Games at the Royce Hotel, Mabalacat, Philippines.

Vietnam's Pham Hong Anh in action during her single dance final.

Reuters

29/51 30 November 2019

A woman holds a coloured flag at the Botswana Pride Parade in Gaborone. The parade is the first one organised in Botswana, after the Court ruled on June 11 in favour of decriminalising homosexuality, which had been punishable by a jail term of up to seven years. AFP via Getty

30/51 29 November 2019

A child holds a placard during a 'drop dead' flashmob protest against climate change consequences at Lumpini Park in Bangkok, Thailand

Reuters

31/51 28 November 2019

Pro-democracy protesters hold an SOS sign and US national flags during a Thanksgiving rally in Edinburgh Place, Hong Kong.

Protesters were thanking US President Donald Trump for signing into a law 'The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act Hong Kong', provoking an angry backlash from the Chinese government. Hong Kong is in its sixth month of mass protests, which were originally triggered by a now withdrawn extradition bill, and have since turned into a wider pro-democracy movement

EPA

32/51 27 November 2019

Rescuers with a dog search through the rubble of a collapsed building after an earthquake in Durres, western Albania

AP

33/51 26 November 2019

A shepherd leads a flock of sheep on a pontoon bridge in Allahabad

AFP via Getty

34/51 25 November 2019

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects a female company belonging to 5492 troops

KCNA via Reuters

35/51 24 November 2019

A protester jumps between burning tires during ongoing anti-government protests in Basra, Iraq

Reuters

36/51 23 November 2019

Fans dressed as Star Wars characters during day three of the first Test between Australia and Pakistan at The Gabba in Australia

Getty

37/51 22 November 2019

Pope Francis speaks with religious leaders during a meeting at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand

Reuters

38/51 21 November 2019

A girl injured in last night's attack by the Syrian regime on a camp for displaced people near the Turkish border in Idlib, Syria is held up to the camera

AFP/Getty

39/51 20 November 2019

Indian paramilitary soldiers detain a Congress party supporter during a protest against the withdrawal of Special Protection Group (SPG) cover to party president Sonia Gandhi, her children and former prime minister Manmohan Singh, in New Delh. The move to lift off the SPG security, an elite force that protects prime ministers and their immediate families, led to sharp reactions from the Congress, which accused the government of personal vendetta

AP

40/51 19 November 2019

An image taken from a plane window shows Sydney shrouded in smoke from nearby bush fires

AAP Imagevia Reuters

41/51 18 November 2019

Protesters run for cover after riot police fired tear gas towards the bridge they were climbing down to the road below, to escape from Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Dozens escaped the besieged campus by lowering themselves on a rope from a footbridge to a highway. Once on the road they were seen being picked up by waiting motorcyclists

AFP via Getty

42/51 17 November 2019

Anti-government protesters draped in Iraqi national flags walk into clouds of smoke from burning tires during a demonstration in the southern city of Basra, Iraq

AFP via Getty

43/51 16 November 2019

A protester wearing a yellow jacket waves a French flag in a fountain during a demonstration to mark the first anniversary of the "yellow vests" movement in Nice, France

Reuters

44/51 15 November 2019

A Palestinian protester uses a slingshot to return a tear gas canister fired by Israeli forces amid clashes following a weekly demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the village of Kfar Qaddum

AFP via Getty

45/51 14 November 2019

A patient suffering from dengue fever receives medical treatment at an isolation ward at a hospital in Larkana, Pakistan. According to local reports, 26 deaths have been reported out of a total of 10,013 confirmed cases of dengue infection.

Dengue fever is reportedly caused by a specific type of mosquito, the Aedes mosquito, that bites only during daytime, especially during sunrise and sunset. EPA

46/51 13 November 2019

An anti-government protester flashes the V-sign for victory in front of burning tyres used to block a main road at the entrance of Tripoli. The previous night, street protests erupted across Lebanon after President Michel Aoun defended the role of his allies, the Shiite movement Hezbollah, in Lebanon's government, cutting off several major roads.

In his televised address, Aoun proposed a government that includes both technocrats and politicians

AFP via Getty

47/51 12 November 2019

An Israeli missile launching from the Iron Dome defence missile system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells. They were sent up to intercept rockets launched from the nearby Palestinian Gaza Strip. Israel's military killed a commander for Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad in a strike on his home, prompting retaliatory rocket fire and fears of a severe escalation in violence

AFP/Getty

48/51 11 November 2019

A species of deer thought to be extinct, the chevrotain, has been spotted for the first time in 30 years in the wilds of Vietnam.

The deer is around the size of a domestic cat

SIE/GWC/Leibniz-IZW/NCNP /SWNS.C

49/51 10 November 2019

The royal motorcade of Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, under tight security, passes through a street in Tokyo. Thousands of people gathered for the rare open-top car parade featuring the newly enthroned Emperor

Kyodo News via AP

50/51 9 November 2019

People knock over a mock-up of the former Berlin Wall during a performance prior to the German first division Bundesliga football match Hertha BSC Berlin v RB Leipzig on the 30 anniversary of the fall off the wall

AFP/Getty

51/51 8 November 2019

Flames from an out of control bushfire from a nearby residential area in Harrington, northeast of Sydney. Australian firefighters warned they were in "uncharted territory" as they struggled to contain dozens of out-of-control bushfires across the east of the country

Kelly-ann Oosterbeek/AFP/Getty

Images from the scene showed the mangled frames of vehicles and bodies lying on the ground after what was one of the deadliest attacks to hit the Somalian capital in recent times.

Qali Ibrahim was one of those looking for news about a loved one, her husband.

Hours of searching from hospital to hospital had proved fruitless as there was no word of Muktar Abukar, a 35-year-old homebuilder whom she married four months earlier. The 18-year-old told Reuters that at Mogadishu's biggest hospital, Medina, she and her sister-in-law were then told to look among a row of dead bodies that had not yet been identified. Ms Ibrahim said she pulled back the sheet on the first corpse she came to, finding a badly burned body she recognised as her husband's from a deep scar on one of his fingers.

"We were together last night," the three-month-pregnant teenager said. "The world is so painful."

After the explosion, 55-year-old Sabdow Ali, who lives nearby, said he left his house and counted at least 13 people dead.

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"Dozens of injured people were screaming for help but the police immediately opened fire and I rushed back to my house," he told Reuters.

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No one has claimed responsibility for the explosion, although al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda-linked Islamist militant group, often carries out such attacks. The most deadly attack blamed on al-Shabaab was in October 2017 when a bomb-laden truck exploded next to a fuel tanker in Mogadishu, creating a fireball that killed nearly 600 people.

Al-Shabaab is now able to make its own explosives, its "weapon of choice," United Nations experts monitoring sanctions on Somalia said earlier this year. The group had previously relied on military-grade explosives captured during assaults on African Union (AU) peacekeeping forces, who have been present in Somalia since 2007. The AU has been gradually withdrawing its forces over the past several years.

The extremist group was pushed out of Mogadishu several years ago but continues to target high-profile areas such as checkpoints and hotels in the seaside city.

A suicide bomber set off their device in the office of Mogadishu's mayor in July, killing at least 6 people and the mayor, Abdirahman Omar Osman.

The extremist group said it was responsible for the blast. 

Somalia's president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, condemned the attack as a "heinous act of terror" by al-Shabaab.

Additional reporting by Associated Press and Reuters

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