Pope Francis appeals for prayers for Somalia blast victims


MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) – Pope Francis appealed for prayers Sunday for the scores of people who lost their lives in a truck bombing in Somalia’s capital.

The pope joined international outcry over what he called “the horrible terrorist attack.”

Somali authorities have said 79 people were killed when the truck exploded at a security checkpoint during Saturday morning rush hour. Another 125 people were wounded.

It was the worst attack in Mogadishu in more than two years. Somalia’s president blamed the al-Shabab extremist group, which is linked to al-Qaida.

Also Sunday, 15 of the wounded were put on a plane to receive medical treatment in Turkey, Turkey’s privately owned DHA news agency reported. The bodies of two Turkish victims were also on board.

Medical personnel carry wounded children to be airlifted to the Turkish capital for treatment after they were injured in Saturday’s car bomb blast in Mogadishu, Somalia, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019. A truck bomb exploded at a busy security checkpoint in Somalia’s capital Saturday morning, killing at least 79 people including many students, authorities said. It was the worst attack in Mogadishu since the devastating 2017 bombing that killed hundreds. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)