ROME — Pope Francis promised prayers Sunday for the victims of Saturday’s “horrible terrorist attack” in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, which claimed the lives of more than 90 people.
“Let us pray to the Lord for the victims of yesterday’s horrific terrorist attack in Mogadishu, Somalia, where more than 70 people were killed in a car bomb explosion,” the pope said following the weekly Angelus prayer in Saint Peter’s Square Sunday. “I am close to all the family members and to those who mourn their passing.”
The al-Qaida affiliated al-Shabaab Islamist terror group has claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing, Vatican News reported, which took place during morning rush hour Saturday in a Mogadishu suburb, near a checkpoint where people enter and exit the city.
While the death toll is not yet definitive, the attack killed at least 90 people and injured another 120, most of whom were civilians. There were many children among the victims, along with 17 students and two foreigners of Turkish nationality.
Although the al-Shabaab terror group was driven out of Mogadishu in 2011, they still manage to carry out regular strikes in Somalia as well as in neighboring Kenya.
Somali police reckon Saturday’s attack as one of the most serious in recent years.
Just weeks ago, al-Shabaab militants besieged a high-end hotel in Mogadishu for hours, killing five people.
The Islamist group is also blamed for the deadliest attack in the nation’s history, when a truck bomb exploded next to a fuel tanker in Mogadishu in October 2017, creating a fire-storm that killed some 600 people.