Attack in Mogadishu occurred on a day when president, prime minister and other senior officials were meeting to discuss combating attacks by armed groups.

Attack took place at the same point where Somalia's largest bombing took place the same month in 2017.
Attack took place at the same point where Somalia's largest bombing took place the same month in 2017. (Reuters)

Two car bombs have exploded at a busy junction in Somalia's capital near key government offices, leaving "scores of civilian casualties" including children, national police said. 

Authorities said Al Shabab terror group carried out Saturday's attack, which they said had targeted the Education Ministry, an intersection and a school.

"At 2:00 pm [local time] Al Shabab terrorists carried out two explosions targeting civilians, including children, women and the elderly," police spokesperson Sadiq Doodishe said.

State news agency SONNA, said the blasts had caused "scores of civilian casualties including independent journalist Mohamed Isse Kona".

A volunteer at the Medina hospital, Hassan Osman, said "out of the total of at least 30 dead people brought to the hospital, the majority of them are women. I have seen this with my own eyes." 

At the hospital, frantic relatives peeked under plastic sheeting and into body bags, looking for loved ones.

The Aamin ambulance service said they had collected at least 35 wounded.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

An Associated Press journalist at the scene saw "many" bodies and said they appeared to be civilians travelling on public transport. 

He said the second blast occurred in front of a busy restaurant. Images from the scene showed crushed tuk-tuks and other vehicles.

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One of the ambulances responding to the attack was destroyed by the second blast, Abdulkadir Adan added in a tweet.

The attack occurred at Zobe junction, which was the scene of a huge Al Qaeda-affiliated Al Shabab group that claimed the truck bombing in 2017 which killed more than 500 people.

Türkiye condemns attacks

Ankara condemned the attack and expressed condolences to the relatives and loved ones of the victims.

"We are deeply saddened to learn that many people lost their lives and were injured in the terrorist attacks that took place today (29 October) in Mogadishu, Somalia. Some of the wounded are under treatment at the Mogadishu Recep Tayyip Erdogan Training and Research Hospital," said the Foreign Ministry in a statement.

READ MORE: Somalia hotel attack: Car bomb, shooting leaves several dead

Push against Al Shabab

Al Shabab often targets high-profile locations.

Somalia’s government has been engaged in a high-profile new offensive against the armed group that the United States has described as one of Al Qaeda's deadliest organisations. 

Somalia's president has described it as "total war" against the fighters, who control large parts of central and southern Somalia and have been the target of scores of US air strikes in recent years.

The insurgents have responded by killing prominent clan leaders in an apparent effort to dissuade support for that government offensive.

READ MORE: Deadly Al Shabab attacks target Somalia's Hiran region

Source: TRTWorld and agencies