A huge blast went off in Mogadishu on Friday, killing at least seven people, hours after U.S. acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller made an unannounced visit to the Somali capital.
Witnesses said a suicide bomber blew himself up at Gelato Devino, a popular ice cream shop along the road to the airport.
Amin Ambulance, one of Mogadishu’s ambulance services, said at least seven people had been killed in the attack. Somali police said another 10 people had been wounded.
The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the SITE Intelligence Group. Al-Shabab frequently carries out attacks in Mogadishu as part of its bid to overthrow the Somali government and impose its strict interpretation of Islamic law.
The Pentagon said Friday that Miller celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday with U.S. military personnel and contractors in Mogadishu and at Camp Lemonnier in nearby Djibouti.
Miller’s surprise visit came following reports that U.S. President Donald Trump is planning to withdraw most of the 750 U.S. military personnel who are in Mogadishu, training and supporting the Somali army.
Somali government officials and opposition leaders strongly condemned Friday’s attack. Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble sent his condolences to the families of the victims and called on Somalis to unite against terrorism.
Somali police said among those killed were young professionals, including a staffer from the Somali Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.