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A doctor says the death toll in a pair of suicide car bombings in Somalia early Wednesday has risen to at least 35, including nine members of the same family, in one of the worst attacks by al-Shabab extremists in retaliation for a government offensive described as “total war.”

Dr. Yahye Abdi, who works at the single, overwhelmed hospital in Mahaas district told The Associated Press that more than 80 people were wounded, with 30 of them airlifted to the capital, Mogadishu.

Some of the dead were found in the rubble of houses on Thursday, he said, Police have said the attackers targeted a military facility in the Hiran region, which is at the heart of the government’s offensive against al-Shabab.

The attack occurred after the dawn prayer.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, which is the deadliest since a bombing last October at a busy junction in Mogadishu killed at least 120 people.

The al-Qaida-linked group numbering thousands of fighters has controlled parts of central and southern Somalia for more than a decade. The Somali government, with the assistance of local militias and the support of U.S. forces, has vowed to defeat the extremists this year.

Source: AFRICA NEWS

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