Beledweyne, Somalia – A deadly explosion rocked the city of Beledweyne this afternoon, leaving at least 20 people dead, most of them civilians.
The blast occurred when security forces stopped a suspicious vehicle at the Horseed checkpoint in the Haawo Taako neighborhood. The subsequent explosion completely destroyed the vehicle and caused extensive damage to nearby buildings, including fuel stations and shops along the road.
Among the casualties were members of a family living near the checkpoint who were killed instantly by the powerful blast. Numerous videos circulating on social media showed fires burning and collapsed structures in the busy commercial area.
The deafening explosion could be heard throughout Beledweyne and a towering plume of smoke was visible overhead. Heavy gunfire was also reported in the aftermath.
Beledweyne, the capital of Hiran region, is the second largest city in Somalia after Mogadishu to be hit by such terrorist attacks.
In June 2009, the deadly bombing of the Medina Hotel claimed the lives of politicians, intellectuals, and elders, including the Minister of National Security Omar Hashi.