A huge blast went off in Mogadishu Friday, killing at least seven people, and wounding 10 others, according to Somali police.?
The suicide bomber blew himself up at Gelato Devino, a popular ice cream parlor near the international airport hours after acting U.S. Defense Secretary Christopher Miller made an unannounced visit to the Somali capital.
The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group claimed responsibility for the attack. 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 sharia law.
The Pentagon said Friday that Miller met with U.S. military personnel and contractors in Mogadishu to express appreciation for their service and to reiterate the U.S. commitment to fighting extremist groups.?
Miller celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday with U.S. troops in Somalia’s capital 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 National 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.