Mogadishu (Caasimada Online) – Ten civilians were killed, and three others wounded on Tuesday when Al-Shabab fighters attacked a house in the northern Abdiaziz district of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.
During the attack, the Somali government confirmed that security forces rescued and extracted many civilians from the targeted house and nearby buildings.
The extremist group Al-Shabab, connected to Al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the raid, which reportedly involved using explosives to blast the main gate of the building before the attack.
A soldier who witnessed the scene said that the militants turned to attack houses occupied by civilians after they were defeated on the frontlines.
Although the Somali army and local clan militias have retaken chunks of territory from Al-Shabab in recent months with the help of US air strikes and an African Union force known as ATMIS, the group still controls parts of the countryside, from where they have carried out numerous retaliatory attacks in Somalia and neighboring countries.
In the past, Al-Shabab frequently retaliated against military offensives with bloody strikes. In the deadliest attack, since the latest offensive began last year, the group killed 121 people in two car bomb explosions at the education ministry in Mogadishu in October.
During Tuesday’s attack, Al-Shabab militants targeted a series of compounds in the Abdiaziz district of Mogadishu.
One of the homes was being used to house wounded Ma’awisley fighters, who had been battling Al-Shabab for months alongside government security forces, while the neighboring property belonged to the Deputy Speaker of the Upper House, Ali Sha’ban Ibrahim.
General Garabey’s residential home, which played an essential role in the recent offensives in the Hiiraan region, was also targeted by the militants.
The Somali government’s Ministry of Information confirmed that all four Al-Shabab militants were killed during the raid, which started with a suicide blast at the compound’s gates on Tuesday afternoon.
The ministry added that the attack on a residential neighborhood in Mogadishu is a sign of Al-Shabab’s growing desperation amidst the group’s battlefield losses in south and central Somalia.
The attack is a shift in tactics from the Al-Qaeda-linked militant insurgency group, which was previously known for staging attacks on hotels and government offices.
Since Somalia declared a ‘total war’ on Al-Shabab in mid-2022, the government has been supported by local clan militias, making the offensive the most successful in a decade.
The offensive has enabled the Somali government to reclaim several towns and villages and secure road networks that the militants had long cut off.