Al-Shabaab Continues Terror Attacks, Further Disrupting Somalia’s Elections

(New York, N.Y.) — Al-Qaeda-aligned terrorist group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing last week that targeted Somali intelligence and security headquarters, leaving at least 10 dead and dozens of others injured. The bombing is the second deadly assault on security forces to occur in Mogadishu in recent weeks, occurring less than a month after an al-Shabaab operative targeted the General Dhega Badan military training school, killing 10.

The latest attack comes just three days after Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble announced a timeline for parliamentary and presidential elections, both of which have been delayed over disagreements on how to conduct the voting. Should the elections occur, it will be the first direct multi-party elections in Somalia since 1969. Under the current plan, elections for the Senate and parliament will take place from mid-July through September, with the presidential election on October 10. The frequency of al-Shabaab attacks has increased this year in an effort to disrupt the electoral process. Its unrelenting insurgency is aimed at overthrowing the Somali central government.

Al-Shabaab regularly carries out suicide bombings against civilian and government targets. In May, another al-Shabaab suicide bomber blew himself up in front of a district police station in Mogadishu, killing six police officers and wounding six others. According to regional experts, delayed elections within Somalia as well as the withdrawal of U.S. troops have enabled al-Shabaab insurgents to carry out attacks more readily in both Somalia and neighboring Kenya.

To read the Counter Extremism Project (CEP)’s Al-Shabaab resource, please click here.

To read CEP’s Somalia resource, please click here.

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On October 27, 2018, domestic terrorist Robert D. Bowers carried out an anti-Semitic attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. He fired on congregants as they gathered for worship, killing 11 people and wounding six others.

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