Intel Official Says Turkish Military Base Was ‘Target’ of Somalia Truck Bomb

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The newly Turkish-built military base in Mogadishu was the original target of Saturday’s deadly truck bomb, a senior Somali intelligence official told VOA Somali.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, says all the intelligence reports received before this attack — and information gathered since the explosion occurred — indicated the Turkish military base was the target.

“This base is the most strategic target for them, it’s going to produce an organized army and they have to preemptively destroy that,” the source said.

The official said the National Intelligence and Security Agency had prior information that al-Shabab was planning to attack the Turkish military base.

Turkish and Somali officials inaugurated the base on Sept. 30. More than 200 Turkish troops will train 1,500 Somali troops with a target of training at least 10,000 Somali soldiers. The chief of staff of the Turkish Armed Forces, General Hulusi Akar, said during the opening ceremony that his government plans to help Somalia until the country gets “militarily stronger.”

Somalia has published a plan to establish a 22,000-strength army before the African Union troops leave the country. AMISOM will start gradual withdrawal by October of next year.

Al-Shabab did not claim the attack but Somali government officials and terrorism experts strongly believe that al-Shabab militants were behind the explosion.

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