No fewer than 512 people have been confirmed dead in the final death toll in October’s massive truck bombing in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu. The committee tasked with looking into the country’s worst-ever attack gave the final figure saying that it was a sharp increase from previous estimates of more than 350 killed.
The committee’s report, obtained by The Associated Press, says another 312 people were wounded in the bombing, while 62 people remain missing. Somalia’s government had blamed the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group for the Oct. 14 attack, which struck a crowded street. Security officials said the bomb weighed between 600 kilograms and 800 kilograms (1,300 pounds and 1,700 pounds) as the extremist group’s bomb-making capabilities grow.
The attack appalled Somalis, with some calling it their “9/11.” Thousands later marched in defiance against the extremist group, while the president announced a new military offensive.
Al-Shabab often attacks high-profile areas in Mogadishu. Somali intelligence officials have said the massive truck bomb was meant to target the heavily guarded airport, where several countries have embassies, but instead detonated in the crowded street after soldiers opened fire and flattened one of the truck’s tires.
The Islamic extremist group, the deadliest in Africa, has been targeted this year by nearly 30 U.S. military drone strikes after the Trump administration approved expanded operations against it and declared the southern part of the Horn of Africa nation a zone of active hostilities.
The U.S. now has more than 500 military personnel in Somalia.