MOGADISHU, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) — At least 10 people were killed and seven others wounded in twin bombings suspected to have been carried out by al-Shabab in the central Somalia town of Mahas early Wednesday, a regional government official and witnesses confirmed.
Mahas District Commissioner Mumin Mohamed Halane said the attack targeted houses where government officials leading anti-terror operations in the Hiran region were staying, but only soldiers were inside at the time of the bombing. He said two cars laden with explosives targeted government officials inside the house, adding that most of the casualties were civilians.
“There are several casualties in the twin attacks this morning. We are still gathering more information about the attack and will soon release the casualty numbers,” Mohamed said on the phone.
Witnesses said the death toll could rise following the explosions. “There were family members inside the house and could have been killed in the attack,” a witness who declined to be named said on the phone.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack but the terror group al-Shabab has been conducting deadly strikes in the country against government officials and African Union peacekeepers since 2007. Mahas is one of the districts where the government and regional forces flushed out al-Shabab in the past months.
Government forces have intensified operations to root out Shabab terrorists from their hideouts in the central region of Somalia in recent months, which resulted in the militants losing ground and suffering heavy casualties.
The al-Qaida allied terror group has lost many areas previously under its control, but it is still capable of staging attacks in Somalia