A truck bomb exploded at a busy security checkpoint in Somalia’s capital Saturday morning, killing at least 30 people, officials said. It was one of the deadliest attacks in Mogadishu in recent memory.

The toll was likely to rise as scores of people were rushed to hospitals, government spokesman Ismail Mukhtar told The Associated Press. Mayor Omar Mohamud Mohamed, speaking at the scene, said at least 90 people were wounded, including children.

The mayor said two Turkish nationals and many university students were among those killed.

Medical personnel carry a civilian who was wounded in suicide car bomb attack at check point in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec, 28, 2019. A police officer says a car bomb has detonated at a security checkpoint during the morning rush hour in Somalia's capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)
Medical personnel carry a civilian who was wounded in suicide car bomb attack at check point in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec, 28, 2019. A police officer says a car bomb has detonated at a security checkpoint during the morning rush hour in Somalia’s capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)

Capt. Mohamed Hussein said the blast targeted a tax collection center during the morning rush hour as Somalia returned to work after its weekend. Images from the scene showed the mangled frames of vehicles and bodies lying on the ground.

A civilian who was wounded in suicide car bomb attack is helped by a friend at check point in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec, 28, 2019. A police officer says a car bomb has detonated at a security checkpoint during the morning rush hour in Somalia's capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)
A civilian who was wounded in suicide car bomb attack is helped by a friend at check point in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec, 28, 2019. A police officer says a car bomb has detonated at a security checkpoint during the morning rush hour in Somalia’s capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)

A large black plume of smoke rose above the capital.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast. The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab often carries out such attacks. The extremist group was pushed out of Mogadishu several years ago but continues to target high-profile areas such as checkpoints and hotels in the seaside city.

A civilian with child who was wounded in suicide car bomb attack is helped at check point in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec, 28, 2019.A police officer says a car bomb has detonated at a security checkpoint during the morning rush hour in Somalia's capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)
A civilian with child who was wounded in suicide car bomb attack is helped at check point in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec, 28, 2019.A police officer says a car bomb has detonated at a security checkpoint during the morning rush hour in Somalia’s capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)

Al-Shabab was blamed for a devastating truck bombing in Mogadishu in October 2017 that killed more than 500 people. The group never claimed responsibility for the blast that led to widespread public outrage. Some analysts said al-Shabab didn’t dare claim credit as its strategy of trying to sway public opinion by exposing government weakness had badly backfired.

The latest attack again raises concern about the readiness of Somali forces to take over responsibility for the Horn of Africa country’s security in the coming months from an African Union force.

Al-Shabab, the target of a growing number of U.S. airstrikes since President Donald Trump took office, controls parts of Somalia’s southern and central regions. It funds itself with a “taxation” system that experts describe as extortion of businesses and travelers that brings in millions of dollars a year.

Medical personnel carry a civilian who was wounded in suicide car bomb attack at check point in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec, 28, 2019. A police officer says a car bomb has detonated at a security checkpoint during the morning rush hour in Somalia's capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)
Medical personnel carry a civilian who was wounded in suicide car bomb attack at check point in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec, 28, 2019. A police officer says a car bomb has detonated at a security checkpoint during the morning rush hour in Somalia’s capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)
A civilian who was wounded in suicide car bomb attack is helped at check point in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec, 28, 2019. A police officer says a car bomb has detonated at a security checkpoint during the morning rush hour in Somalia's capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)
A civilian who was wounded in suicide car bomb attack is helped at check point in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec, 28, 2019. A police officer says a car bomb has detonated at a security checkpoint during the morning rush hour in Somalia’s capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)
Civilians who were wounded in suicide car bomb attack are helped at check point in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec, 28, 2019. A police officer says a car bomb has detonated at a security checkpoint during the morning rush hour in Somalia's capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)
Civilians who were wounded in suicide car bomb attack are helped at check point in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec, 28, 2019. A police officer says a car bomb has detonated at a security checkpoint during the morning rush hour in Somalia’s capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)
A woman helps to push a stretcher following a suicide car bomb attack at check point in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec, 28, 2019. A police officer says a car bomb has detonated at a security checkpoint during the morning rush hour in Somalia's capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)
A woman helps to push a stretcher following a suicide car bomb attack at check point in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec, 28, 2019. A police officer says a car bomb has detonated at a security checkpoint during the morning rush hour in Somalia’s capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)
A civilian who was wounded in suicide car bomb attack is helped at check point in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec, 28, 2019. A police officer says a car bomb has detonated at a security checkpoint during the morning rush hour in Somalia's capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)
A civilian who was wounded in a suicide car bomb attack is helped at the checkpoint in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec 28, 2019. A police officer says a car bomb has detonated at a security checkpoint during the morning rush hour in Somalia’s capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)
Medical personnel carry a civilian who was wounded in suicide car bomb attack at check point in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec, 28, 2019. A police officer says a car bomb has detonated at a security checkpoint during the morning rush hour in Somalia's capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)
Medical personnel carry a civilian who was wounded in suicide car bomb attack at check point in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec, 28, 2019. A police officer says a car bomb has detonated at a security checkpoint during the morning rush hour in Somalia’s capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)
EDS NOTE GRAPHIC CONTENT - A civilian who was wounded in suicide car bomb attack is helped at check point in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019. A police officer says a car bomb has detonated at a security checkpoint during the morning rush hour in Somalia's capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)
EDS NOTE GRAPHIC CONTENT – A civilian who was wounded in suicide car bomb attack is helped at check point in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019. A police officer says a car bomb has detonated at a security checkpoint during the morning rush hour in Somalia’s capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)
A civilian who was wounded in suicide car bomb attack is helped to be taken to hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019. A police officer says a car bomb has detonated at a security checkpoint during the morning rush hour in Somalia's capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)
A civilian who was wounded in suicide car bomb attack is helped to be taken to hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019. A police officer says a car bomb has detonated at a security checkpoint during the morning rush hour in Somalia’s capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)
EDS NOTE GRAPHIC CONTENT - Medical personnel carry a civilian who was wounded in suicide car bomb attack at check point in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec, 28, 2019. A police officer says a car bomb has detonated at a security checkpoint in Somalia's capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)
EDS NOTE GRAPHIC CONTENT – Medical personnel carry a civilian who was wounded in suicide car bomb attack at check point in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec, 28, 2019. A police officer says a car bomb has detonated at a security checkpoint in Somalia’s capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)
A civilian who was wounded in suicide car bomb attack is helped to be taken to hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec, 28, 2019. A police officer says a car bomb has detonated at a security checkpoint during the morning rush hour in Somalia's capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)
A civilian who was wounded in suicide car bomb attack is helped to be taken to hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec, 28, 2019. A police officer says a car bomb has detonated at a security checkpoint during the morning rush hour in Somalia’s capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)