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Massive Explosion Kills More Than 300 In Somalia's Capital

Saturday's explosion, which also injured hundreds, is the single deadliest attack ever in the country.

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More than 300 people died and about 300 others were injured when a truck bomb exploded on Saturday in a busy part of Somalia's capital, Mogadishu.

Farah Abdi Warsameh / AP

Somalis gather and search for survivors at the scene of a blast.

The explosion is the single deadliest attack ever in the country, the Associated Press reported.

The massive blast, which occurred outside the Safari Hotel, not far from the country's foreign ministry, appears to have nearly leveled the hotel and badly damaged an entire city block. Photos from the aftermath show bodies strewn across the street while others show ordinary citizens rescuing those injured from the explosion.

More than 70 of the most critically injured people were airlifted to Turkey Monday for treatment.

Outside a Mogadishu hospital, victims and family members gathered, looking for their loved ones.

“There’s nothing I can say. We have lost everything,” said Zainab Sharif, crying as she sat outside of a local hospital, according to the AP. Doctors were unable to save her husband after an arterial injury.

The Somali government has blamed al-Shabab — an al-Qaedalinked extremist group that has been waging an insurgency in the country since 2007 — for the explosion.

“They don’t care about the lives of Somali people, mothers, fathers, and children,” Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire said. “They have targeted the most populated area in Mogadishu, killing only civilians.”

The country's president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, has called for three days of mourning and has asked residents to donate blood and money for those injured.

“The hospital is overwhelmed by both dead and wounded. We also received people whose limbs were cut away by the bomb. This is really horrendous, unlike any other time in the past,” said Dr. Mohamed Yusuf, the director of Medina hospital.

Farah Abdi Warsameh / AP

Somali children assist other civilians and security forces in their rescue efforts by carrying away unidentified charred human remains in a cardboard box.

The extremist group al-Shabab has yet to claim responsibility for the attack, which comes days before the Somali president was to meet the head of the US Africa Command, the AP reported.

This year, the US has increased the number of drone strikes against al-Shabab, which has been in a prolonged battle against the Somali military and African Union troops.

The United Nations special envoy to Somalia, Michael Keating, said the attack was "revolting." He added that the UN and the African Union were supporting the Somali government' with "logistical support, medical supplies, and expertise."

Talal Ansari is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. His secure PGP fingerprint is 4FEE 894C 8088 7E08 E170 A515 2801 7CC6 95D3 11C2

Contact Talal Ansari at talal.ansari@buzzfeed.com.

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