MOGADISHU (AFP) – Somalia’s al-Shebab insurgents on Saturday claimed responsibility for a bomb attack which ripped a hole in a passenger plane shortly after takeoff from the capital Mogadishu earlier this month.
On Feb 2, Shebab “mujahideen carried out an operation targeting dozens of Western intelligence officials and Turkish Nato forces aboard an airplane bound for Djibouti,” said a statement issued by the group.
The blast left a metre-wide hole in the fuselage of the Daallo Airlines plane shortly after it took off from Somalia’s main airport, killing the suspected bomber and forcing an emergency landing.
Two of the 74 passengers aboard were slightly injured.
A passenger believed to be the bomber, identified as Abdulahi Abdisalam, was killed, probably after being propelled out of the aircraft in the explosion, investigators said.
The man had initially intended to board a Turkish Airlines flight but the Turkish plane did not turn up and Daallo Airlines agreed to fly the passengers onwards to Djibouti.
Somali intelligence officials have released surveillance footage appearing to show a passenger being given a laptop in which the bomb was concealed.
Shebab said the bomb attack was “retribution for the crimes committed by the coalition of Western crusaders and their intelligence agencies against the Muslims of Somalia”.