November 9, 2018: Complex attack including car bombs in Somalia

On November 9, 2018 Al Shabaab carried out a series of car bombs in Mogadishu which killed at least 20 people.

MOGADISHU, SOMALIA – It is interesting that some terrorist attacks are carefully planned to include not one but several modes of operation at the same time.

Most acts of terrorism are not rocket science.

I mean, how hard is it to pick up a knife, or a sword or even a golf club and start swinging it at people? Any idiot can do that – and some have indeed been idiots! Take Rehab Dughmosh for instance (featured in the most recent Borealis Top Ten list).

Others are indeed complicated if for no other reason that they involve a more sophisticated device (an IED for instance). What these attacks demonstrate is that some thought was given to how to go about the plan and what the end goal was.

Then there are what are sometime referred to as ‘double tapplots. These involve the use of one particular mode of attack followed quickly by a second one, often while first responders are trying to address the first one. Today’s featured incident is a good example.

On this day in 2018

Al Shabaab (AS) carried out a series of car bombs (3 at one time) in Mogadishu which killed at least 20 people: a fourth bomb went off as medics attempted to rescue injured people. Police then had to deal with four AS members who attempted to burst through a hole that one of the blasts opened in a wall of the Sahafi Hotel, which is frequented by government officials and appeared to be the main target of the attacks.

It acts as a government base.

AS statement justifying its move

One car bomb is enough to have to respond to. But four in quick succession? And gunmen? That speaks to planning, not something terrorists are always good at.

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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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