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Somalia executes Mogadishu bomber

October 14, 2018

The man behind one of the country's deadliest attacks has been killed by firing squad, exactly a year after the tragedy. Five hundred people were killed in the truck bomb blamed on al-Shabab.

Somalia Gedenkveranstaltung für Opfer Anschlag vor einem Jahr
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/F.A. Warsameh

Somalia on Sunday executed a man thought to have orchestrated one of the world's deadliest attacks since 9/11.

Hassan Adan Isak was sentenced to death by firing squad by a court in the Somali capital on the anniversary of last October's truck bombing in Mogadishu that killed well over 500 people.

Hundreds of people, meanwhile, gathered at a ceremony to remember those killed in the attack, which was blamed on the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab group.

Memories of the bombing are still raw. A truck packed with explosives blew up at a busy intersection, destroying some 20 buildings in an apocalyptic scene.

The attack was so devastating, the extremist group never claimed responsibility.

Read more: When al-Qaida brought terror to East Africa

Isak was the driver of a vehicle parked near an airport checkpoint shortly after the truck went off, and was arrested for suspicious behavior. The target of his attack was unclear and there were no casualties in the second blast.

Advanced warning

Security officials have admitted they had advance warning about an attack but had no idea about the large amount of explosives it carried.

We had been trailing the car bomb before it was detonated but it sped through a traffic jam and unfortunately reached the site," said Abdullahi Sanbalolshe, Somalia's former intelligence chief.

Read more: Africa's most dangerous countries for women

Reconstruction of the area has begun but many buildings in the area still lie in ruins. A memorial tower has been erected in the middle of the intersection.

"In my mind, it feels like it happened just yesterday," said Sadiya Mohamed, a 49-year-old who lost her eldest son. He is among hundreds of people still missing. "I can barely get sleep since that dark day. He was everything for us," she said.

Omar Haji Mohamed, a disabled father who lost two children in the blast, urged the government to keep on top of security.

"I don't think commemoration would bring them back to me, but I hope nothing like the October tragedy happens again."

Somalia has faced decades of deadly warlord-led chaosand more recently has endured dozens of attacks by al-Shabab.

The United States has targeted the extremist group with dozens of airstrikes and increased its military presence in Somalia since early 2017 to about 500 personnel.

mm/rc (AFP, AP)

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