It is a dire situation on the ground in Mogadishu, Somalia, right now, as at least 231 people were killed and hundreds more injured in a double car bomb blast targeting a crowd of people.
It appears that the death toll is likely to rise. One nurse on there said that that “nearly all of the wounded,” of whom there are more than 200, “have serious wounds.”
Nurse Samir Abdi also said that she witnessed “unspeakable horrors,” the Associated Press reported. The smell of blood was also described as “strong.”
Angry protesters gathered near the scene of the attack and Somalia’s government blamed the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group for the “national disaster.”
The United States condemned the bombing, saying “such cowardly attacks reinvigorate the commitment of the United States to assist our Somali and African Union partners to combat the scourge of terrorism.”
But the U.S. Africa Command said U.S. forces had not been asked to provide aid. A spokesman told The Associated Press that first responders and local enforcement would handle the response and “the U.S. would offer assistance if and when a request was made.”
The first of two explosions hit the Safari Hotel in the heart of the city, while the second blast occurred in the Madina district, CNN reported.
Special representative of the United Nations secretary-general for Somalia Michael Keating said the attacks targeted a “densely populated area” and killed “an unprecedented number of civilians.”
“The perpetrators struck a densely populated neighborhood of Mogadishu. They have killed an unprecedented number of civilians. It is a revolting attack both in terms of its intent and impact,” he said.
The Guardian is reporting that the number of people killed or injured is at least 500.
Early images of the carnage in Somalia are horrific.
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No group at the time of this writing has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.