ISIS Celebrates Its First-Ever Attack In Somalia

The terror group's loyalists promised "many operations" to come

A militant Islamist fighter in Raqqa in 2014. — REUTERS
Apr 25, 2016 at 9:20 AM ET

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for a terror attack in Somalia—its first-ever attack in the East African nation.

In an official statement circulated by the group’s supporters on Twitter and Telegram, ISIS said its fighters detonated a car bomb targeting forces belonging to the African Union Forces—peacekeeping troops—on the outskirts of the capital Mogadishu on Monday. It wasn’t immediately clear if anyone was killed or injured.

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This is the first time ISIS has officially said it was behind an operation in Somalia, which has been dominated by al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda affiliate. While ISIS’ leadership has sought the loyalty of al-Shabaab militants, only a small faction of the group pledged allegiance to ISIS chief Abu Baker al-Baghdadi, reports have said.

Social media users affiliated with the Islamic State celebrated Monday’s mission, declaring: “In spite of the treachery of the Shabaab organization the Islamic State is expanding to Mogadishu and attacking there.” Others praised the operation, for reasons including that it targeted a peacekeeping force comprised of non-Muslims. “There is no place for infidels and their slaves among Muslims,” one user wrote. Another promised “many operations” to come.

ISIS already has branches in other African nations including Nigeria, where Boko Haram pledged allegiance to the Islamic State last year, calling itself the terror group’s “West Africa Province.” ISIS fighters are also present across North Africa, creating the Egyptian “Sinai Province” and several branches inside Libya.