May 25, 2014: Suicide bombers hit popular restaurant in Djibouti

On May 25, 2014 two possible Al Shabaab terrorists bombed a restaurant in Djibouti, killing three and wounding 15.

DJIBOUTI – It’s one thing to be the target of jihadis, but while you are at lunch?

Have you ever been on counter-terrorism (CT) duty? I haven’t, or at least not really. Sure, I worked as a CT analyst at CSIS – the Canadian Security Intelligence Service – from 2001 to 2015 but I was never in the CT ‘trenches’ per se. I was not regularly meeting with sources at 11 PM or following jihadis (surveillance) around the clock.

For those that did – I tip my hat to you! – it can involve very long days. And nights. All during which there are more mundane things that need attention. Like meals.

You would hope that those who work hard to prevent terrorists from succeeding would have a chance to enjoy dinner in peace. You would also be wrong.

On this day in 2014

Two Somali jihadis were suspected of having carried out a suicide bombing at a popular restaurant in Djibouti filled with Western military personnel in which three were killed and at least 15 wounded. Several members of European Union naval and civilian maritime security missions were among those wounded in the attack, including three members of the Spanish military Air Force. While no group claimed responsibility, Somalia’s Al Shabaab was suspected.

Early indications of the investigations show that the attackers were two suicide bombers of Somali origin; a man and a veiled woman.  

Djibouti Interior Ministry

A former French colony, Djibouti hosts a French military base and its port is used by foreign navies policing the Gulf of Aden’s shipping lanes, some of the busiest in the world, against pirates from Somalia, which borders the country to the south. That Al Shabaab saw the small nation as a viable terrorist target should surprise no one. But during dinner?

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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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