The Latest: Somalia to announce 'state of war' on al-Shabab
Oct. 20, 2017
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — The Latest on Somalia's deadliest attack (all times local):
Somalia's prime minister says the president will announce a "state of war" against the al-Shabab extremist group blamed for the country's deadliest attack.
A military official says the United States is expected to play a supporting role in the new offensive. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.
Somalia's army spokesman Capt. Abdullahi Iman says the offensive will try to push al-Shabab fighters out of strongholds in the Lower Shabelle and Middle Shabelle regions where many deadly attacks on Somalia's capital are launched.
Al-Shabab has not commented on Saturday's truck bombing that left 358 dead and dozens still missing.
— Abdi Guled in Mogadishu.
Somalia's information minister says the death toll has risen to 358 in the country's worst-ever attack.
Abdirahman Osman says 56 people are still missing from Saturday's truck bombing on a busy street in Mogadishu. Another 228 people were wounded.
Thousands gathered at the attack site Friday to pray.
Somalia's government has blamed the bombing on extremist group al-Shabab, which has not commented.
Thousands of anguished Somalis have gathered to pray at the site of the country's deadliest attack and to mourn the hundreds of victims.
A sheikh leading the prayers says that "this pain will last for years." More than 300 people were killed and nearly 400 wounded in Saturday's truck bombing, with scores missing.
Long lines of mourners stand in front of bombed-out buildings.
Somalia's government has blamed the al-Shabab extremist group for the attack.
The U.S. military says it carried out a drone strike this week against al-Shabab in Somalia, shortly after the extremist group was blamed for the country's deadliest attack.
The U.S. Africa Command tells The Associated Press that the strike occurred Monday about 35 miles (56 kilometers) southwest of the capital, Mogadishu. The U.S. says it is still assessing the results.
Saturday's truck bombing in Mogadishu killed more than 300 people and wounded nearly 400 others.
The U.S. has carried out several drone strikes in the Horn of Africa nation since President Donald Trump approved expanded military operations against the group early this year.
Al-Shabab has not commented on the truck bombing, which Somali intelligence officials say was meant to target Mogadishu's heavily fortified international airport. Several countries have embassies there.