A powerful suicide bomb blast rocked the Somali town of Jowhar in Hirshabele state, killing one person and wounding at least 14 others. Senior regional administration officials were among the injured. The militant group Al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Hirshabele State Disaster and Humanitarian Management Minister Abdifatah Qoorgaab told VOA that the attack targeted a popular hotel called Nur-doob that was frequented by state legislators, ministers and other officials.
He said the injured, including the state health minister, were taken to an area hospital for treatment.
Mohamed Ibrahim Mo’alimu is an elected member of the Somali Parliament from Hirshabele.
He says that what happened today in Jowhar, the administrative capital, Hirshabele, is very shocking. Carrying out an attack that targeted a private hotel is very shocking and is a cowardly and barbaric attack. I expressed my condolences to the families of the victims and asked Allah [God] so that the injured recover quickly. The attack also caused damage to nearby businesses and buildings, and many people lost their wealth.
Jowhar is also the provincial capital of the Middle Shabelle region of Somalia, located 90 kilometers north of the capital Mogadishu.
Ibrahim Ali, an eyewitness in Jowhar, told VOA that Sunday’s shelling was the biggest and loudest he had ever heard.
Jihan Abdullahi Hassan, adviser to the president of Hirshabele, described the attack as “tragic” and called for a collective effort to defeat al-Shabab.
Somali Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre condemned the attack.
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