MINNEAPOLIS: Building explosion in ‘Little Mogadishu’ yesterday morning, suicide bombing in Mogadishu yesterday evening

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A  building in the Cedar–Riverside area of Minneapolis, better known as  “little Mogadishu” because of its large Somali Muslim population exploded and caught fire. Over a dozen people were injured, some as they jumped buildings. As many as 4 are still missing.

Lee Stranahan  The building where the explosion took place had a Halal market on the first floor and a mosque next door that teaches sharia law. According to Star-Tribnue, “the apartments are all occupied by single Somali Muslim men.”

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Last night, suicide bombers killed at least 11 in the Somali capital of Mogadishu. The group behind the attack is Al-Shabaab, an al Qaeda cell.  They were responsible for last years Westgate mall attack in Kenya.

Because the cause of this morning’s explosion Minneapolis is not yet known so it is pure conjecture to say that there is a connection between the explosion in the terror event half a world away.. However, there is a clear connection between Minnesota and the group behind the Mogadishu car bombings. Three Minnesota man who went to Somalia to martyr themselves for Al Qaeda were featured in a recruitment film last year. 

Minnesota public radio has a long piece discussing the Minnesota to Mogadishu pipeline.

Star Tribune  New Year’s Day morning, an explosion and fire tore through a century-old building in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis, injuring at least 14 people — six critically — and destroying a Somali Muslim immigrant-owned grocery store and the 10 single room apartments above it. The building housed the Otanga halal grocery store. The apartments above it were apparently all occupied by single men, most of them East African Muslim immigrants, a resident said.

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Family members and friends reported that three or four others known to have lived in the apartments have not been located and are feared dead. The building is a total loss. By midafternoon, burned rafters, still billowing smoke, hung like wooden pickup sticks in the shell of the brick building. The second and third floors had collapsed.

Abdifatah Ahmed, who works at a nearby pharmacy, watched from his Riverside Plaza apartment as the fire burned below. “You know how lava comes out of a volcano? It was literally spewing out just like that,” he said. “It just kept on developing all over the building. … The fire and smoke were taking over the whole entire sky.”

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Mohamed Jama said he was in bed in one of the nearby towers when the fire alarm went off. He said he saw a man and a woman jump from windows in the burning building, and saw another man pushed out a window by the force of the fire.

Ahmed Muse, one of five owners of the Otanga grocery store, said he felt what he called “an electrical shock” in the building, and police were called. When he went outside to talk to the officers, an explosion erupted on the second floor, blowing out the windows and scattering glass on the street below.

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The grocery served halal meats and was popular among the neighborhood’s many Somali-American residents. Muse said that it had been there since 1998 and that the building was in good shape and had been remodeled last year. “Eighty percent of the neighborhood uses that halal grocery store, and they lost everything,” Jama said.

Right on schedule, CAIR demands an investigation as to whether or not the mosque was a target.

RELATED STORY/VIDEO:

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About this Somali Muslim neighborhood of  Cedar-Riverside neighborhood in Minneapolis:

Al-Jazeera  According to census data released in 2011, more than 32,000 people of Somali ancestry live in Minnesota. The largest Somali population in the U.S. is based in and around Cedar-Riverside, but the community has been under federal investigation. According to reports from Reuters and The New York Times, at least 20 ethnic Somali men have left Minnesota to join Al-Shabab since 2007. Investigators looked into the possibility that several of the fighters involved in the September 2013 Al-Shabab attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya came from Minnesota.November 2013 Associated Press report identified the four gunmen who stormed the mall as ethnic Somalis.

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