At least 100 killed and 300 injured as Somalia's capital hit by two explosions

At least 100 people have been killed and 300 injured after two explosions rocked the capital of Somalia in what appears to be an ongoing attack on the country's education ministry.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud confirmed the death toll in a statement on Sunday as he visited the site of the blasts outside the education ministry in Mogadishu.

"Our people who were massacred... included mothers with their children in their arms, fathers who had medical conditions, students who were sent to study, businessmen who were struggling with the lives of their families," he said.

The attack occurred in a busy area that houses several key government offices, and on a day when the nation's president, prime minister and other senior officials were meeting to discuss violent extremism.

The leaders were expected to pay particular attention to a known extremist group affiliated with al Qaeda called al Shabaab.

Nobody has yet claimed responsibility for the explosions at Zobe junction, which are understood to have been caused by car bombs.

The first of the explosions struck the education ministry near a busy junction in Mogadishu, while the second occurred as ambulances attended the scene and people gathered to help the victims.

The blast wave smashed windows in the vicinity - as blood covered the tarmac just outside the building.

State news agency, SONNA, said the blasts had caused "scores of civilian casualties, including independent journalist Mohamed Isse Kona".

Reuters reported that witnesses had seen windows blown out of nearby buildings, and burnt out ambulances that were destroyed in the second blast.

"Two car bombs targeted the education ministry building along K5 street," local resident, Ahmed Nur told the news agency.

"The second blast burnt our ambulance as we came to transport the casualty from the first blast," Abdikadir Abdirahman, founder of the Aamin Ambulance Service, added.

Who are al Shabaab?

Al Shabaab often targets the capital with attacks on high-profile locations that begin with explosions and continue with gunmen entering and battling security teams.

The group stormed the education ministry in 2015, and the latest attack occurred at the scene of a massive al Shabaab blast in 2017, which killed more than 500 people.

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The group emerged as the radical wing of Somalia's Islamic Courts Union (ICU), which no longer exists, and declared allegiance to al Qaeda in 2012.

Al Shabaab is viewed by the UK as a terrorist organisation.

Somalia's government is engaged in a new offensive against the extremist group, which has been described by the US as of one of al Qaeda's deadliest affiliates.