first published on October 5, 2019 by Will
A video has surfaced showing the moment an al Shabaab SVBIED struck an Italian convoy in Somalia on Sept. 30, 2019.
The Italians are operating in Mogadishu as part of the EU Training Mission in Somalia (EUTM-S). They are training local military forces, but may have been providing additional security for, or attending, a “high-level meeting at the UN headquarters” at the time of the attack.
Reportedly, no Italian troops were wounded during the attack. The attack was carried out the same day al Shabaab tried overrunning a secretive US Special Operations airfield 60 miles west of Mogadishu. That attack included twin SVBIEDs and heavily armed al Shabaab ground forces, but was repelled by the base defense units.
From the video we can see just how lucky the Italians got. The SVBIED driver poorly timed both the ramming and detonating portion of the attack. It would seem that they attempted to hit the vehicle in front of the recording truck, but didn’t make it to the intersection in time, so instead tried targeting the next vehicle.
The effectiveness of explosions is a matter of inches. Every little bit of space you can put between yourself and the blast increases your chances of survival exponentially. Had the car bomb actually rammed the Italian convoy troop carrier, there would have likely been multiple casualties or even a catastrophic kill.
Instead, the triggerman detonated prematurely, while the SVBIED was still a few meters from the EUTM-S vehicle. The vehicle was peppered by shrapnel, but due to the distance of the bomb from the target, the shockwave and penetrating capability of the shrapnel was rendered ineffective. Additionally, the Italian vehicle was equipped with a Remote Weapon System, which is controlled from inside the vehicle, rather than a manually operated weapon system which would have required a gunner to be exposed to the blast outside the vehicle.