February 5, 2016: Car bomb targets airport official in Somalia

On February 5, 2016 three people were killed in a probable Al Shabaab car bomb targeting an airport official in Mogadishu.

MOGADISHU, SOMALIA – Working in counter terrorism is hard enough without seeing yourself targeted by the very terrorists you are trying to stop.

OK, OK I may be a LITTLE biased, but working in counter terrorism was by far the highlight of my 32 years in intelligence. The whole 3+ decades was really cool beyond description, but being involved in actual investigations which foiled actual terrorists planning actual acts of destruction is hard to top.

This kind of job can be dangerous since, on occasion, you knock on the doors of real terrorists to chat with them. Sometimes this is just to say “Hey asshole! We know who you and what you are up to so you might want to rethink your plans.” At other times this ploy can be an attempt to recruit them to your side as human sources/agents. In any event, by doing so the terrorists now know who you are (even if you wisely use an alias).

The reason for care is that you don’t want the terrorists to come after you or your family. Still, on occasion they do.

On this day in 2016

Three people were killed in a car bomb targeting an airport official in Mogadishu. A Somali airport security official was targeted, perhaps because he was looking into an earlier blast on a commercial airliner that ripped a hole in its fuselage, 15 minutes after take-off from Mogadishu.

A man got out of the car and entered a pharmacy, but before he returned a huge blast ripped through the car. I saw several people burned.


While no group claimed responsibility for the car bomb, Al Shabaab extremists have carried similar attacks in the past. They are the terrorist group of choice in Somalia – and they don’t want government officials stopping their campaign of violence.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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