A Bloomington father who aspired to work for the United Nations and rebuild his homeland of Somalia was visiting the country's capital city Saturday when a terrorist attack took his life.

Ahmed AbdiKarin Eyow was among several hundred people killed when a truck driven by a suicide bomber exploded in a busy part of Mogadishu. The blast is the deadliest single terrorist attack in the East African nation's history.

Eyow, 50, who was on a short trip to Kenya and Somalia, was in his hotel room when the blast went off, Jaylani Hussein, the executive director of CAIR-MN, said at a news conference Sunday afternoon.

"We here in Minnesota know we have lost a great community activist and leader," Hussein told the crowd of about 40 people at Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington. "Terrorism has no faith, and terrorism is a threat to all of us."

Eyow, a welder who recently received his bachelor's degree from Metropolitan State University and was working on his master's degree, leaves behind a wife and three children.

An active member of Dar Al Farooq and the community, Eyow was remembered as a family man who loved both the United States and Somalia. Eyow fled Somalia as a refugee after the government collapsed in the early 1990s, and later settled in Minnesota.

"He was a great father," said Bashir Eyow, his brother. "I'm very, very sad today."

Ruun Abdi said her husband worked two jobs and was the family's sole breadwinner. She said he had a future in politics.

"My husband, he was a great man," Abdi said. "He loved America so much."

Even while on his latest trip to Somalia, she said, her husband was checking on his kids' grades and homework assignments and reminding her about parent-teacher conferences.

Hussein said Eyow was visiting family and exploring possible job options on this trip.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the blast, but Somalia's government has blamed the Al-Shabab extremist group.

The truck filled with explosives was being followed by Somali security forces when it exploded. It may not have reached its final destination yet, Hussein said.

At least one other American was killed in the explosion, Hussein said. More people may be found injured or killed in the rubble, he said, and local community members are still waiting for news about their family members and friends.

"It has been nerve-racking — many people still don't know if their loved ones are OK," he said. "It's still an unfolding situation."

Mohamed Omar, executive director of Dar Al Farooq, said a community event will be held next Sunday to support Ahmed Eyow's family, which includes his wife, his daughter, Yusra Eyow, 13, and sons Yonis, 14, and Yahya, 10. It will be at 4:30 p.m. at Dar Al Farooq.

"Ahmed was one of our most effective and active community members," Omar said. "He used to come daily here, him and his kids."

A GoFundMe page to help the family has been set up atgofundme.com/ahmed-abdikarin-eyow.

Mohamed Mohamoud, 14, said he is best friends with Yonis Eyow, Ahmed Eyow's son. He played basketball and soccer with them, Mohamoud said.

"He was always happy," Mohamoud said about Ahmed. "He was always around."

Erin Adler • 612-673-1781