A truck bomb exploded at a busy security checkpoint in Somalia's capital Saturday morning, killing at least 78 people including many students, authorities said. It was the worst attack in Mogadishu in more than two years, and witnesses said the force of the blast reminded them of the city's devastating 2017 bombing that killed hundreds, the AP reports. The blast occurred during rush hour as Somalia returned to work after its weekend. At least 125 people were wounded, Aamin Ambulance service director Abdiqadir Abdulrahman said. A large black plume of smoke rose above the capital. President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed condemned the attack as a "heinous act of terror" and blamed the al-Shabab extremist group, which is linked to al-Qaeda.
The bombing targeted a tax collection center, police Capt. Mohamed Hussein said. Bodies lay on the ground amid the blackened skeletons of vehicles. At a hospital, families and friends picked through dozens of the dead, gingerly lifting sheets to peer at faces. Hundreds of Mogadishu residents began to donate blood in response to desperate appeals. Most of those killed were university and other students returning to class, Mayor Omar Mohamud Mohamed said at the scene. Two Turkish brothers were apparently among the dead. "Some of those dead were police officers, but most of them were students," said a witness. Somalis mourned the deaths of so many young people in a country trying to rebuild itself after decades of conflict.
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