Somalia on alert for new Takfiri attacks after scores killed
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Somalia on alert for new Takfiri attacks after scores killed

At least 36 people, mostly civilians, were killed and over 60 wounded after a bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into the Hotel Maka al-Mukarama and nearby buildings in Mogadishu. Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire said the assault had targeted civilians. "There is only one option for us all - defeating the enemy of peace,” he told reporters. “We are now in the process of strengthening our armed forces - equipping them and providing logistical support. I assure you all that we will defeat al-Shabaab," he added. It was the latest in a series of high-profile assaults in East Africa by al-Shabaab. It came after the US stepped up airstrikes in the Horn of Africa country. Al-Shabaab acknowledged that it had targeted a "luxury hotel inhabited by government officials and security service officers" -- also a popular choice for businessmen. President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, who had vowed to end al-Shabaab's insurgency within two years, is facing a huge insecurity challenge. The al-Qaeda-linked militant outfit, which has long sought to topple Somalia’s Western-backed government, was forced out of Mogadishu with the help of African Union forces in 2011. Al-Shabaab, however, still wields control in large parts of the countryside, and every now and then carries out deadly attacks against government, military, and civilian targets in the capital as well as regional towns. The terrorist group has fought successive Somali governments as well as neighboring governments in Kenya and Uganda.

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