Mogadishu: A suicide car bomber exploded
at the gate to Mogadishu`s airport today, and suicide bombers
in a second vehicle rushed toward the terminal before
exploding themselves short of their goal, officials said. Up
to 14 people were killed, including five attackers.
The coordinated assault was the latest in a surge
of attacks by Islamist insurgents, who last month declared a
new, stepped-up effort to oust the country`s weak government.
The barrage took place about 40 minutes after Somalia`s
president flew out of the country.
The Somali government and the 7,000-man African
Union force that protects Somalia`s weak government gave
slightly differing accounts of the attack, though they agreed
on the broad outlines.
After the suicide car bomber exploded at the front
gate, 500 meters from the terminal, between two and four
suicide bombers exited a second vehicle and battled security
At least two of the suicide bombers - who were
wearing Somali military uniforms - forced their way into the
airport grounds and ran toward the terminal.
"Both were brought to a halt within 200 meters of
the terminal building where they exploded their IED
(improvised explosive device) vests," the African Union said
in a statement.
Somali officials condemned the attack on the eve of
the Muslim religious festival of Eid, but said they had
anticipated a high-profile assault around this time. Eid marks
the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Two soldiers with the African Union force and four
Somali police officers were killed, said Maj. Barigye Bahoku,
the spokesman for the AU force. The Somali government
statement said three civilians also were killed.
Officials indicated that up to five attackers took
part in the assault, and that all five died.