A truck laden with explosives blew up in front of the Ministry of Education in Somalia's capital today, killing 70 and injuring 42, a rescue official says. A Mogadishu police officer says the vehicle blew up after pulling up to a security checkpoint at the entrance to the ministry offices. The al-Qaeda-linked militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack in a website it uses.
The attack shattered a relative calm that had prevailed in Mogadishu for weeks. It was the biggest attack there since al-Shabab withdrew most of its forces in August amid an offensive by African Union forces. The group had been expected to fight back with guerrilla-style attacks, including car bombs. Suicide bombings were unheard of in Somalia before 2007 but have become increasingly frequent, and several car bombs have been defused or exploded before reaching their targets in recent weeks. (Read more Somalia stories.)