Car bomb, gunmen attack Mogadishu airport: 7 dead

Last Updated: Thursday, September 9, 2010 - 21:17

Mogadishu: A suicide car bomber and
gunmen attacked the front gate to Mogadishu`s seaside airport
today, triggering an explosion and gunbattle, officials said.

At least seven people were killed, including six security
forces.

The coordinated attack was the latest in a surge of
assaults 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.

After the car bomb exploded, a second vehicle full
of militants opened fire at African Union and Somali security
forces, said Osman Dahir, a police officer at the airport. He
said there were several dead bodies of insurgents lying in
front of the airport, but he didn`t know how many.

Two soldiers with the African Union force and four
Somali police officers were killed, said Maj. Barigye Bahoku,
the spokesman for the AU force. One Somali civilian was also
killed, he said.

Vehicles from the African Union blocked the car
bomb attacker from gaining entry into the airport, said Abdul
Rahman Yussef, an official with Somalia`s army.

The 7,000-man AU force guards the airport and
presidential palace and prevents the al Qaeda-linked militant
group al-Shabab from overthrowing Somalia`s weak government.

Yussef said he believes two women who were begging
near the gate also were killed. Bahoku could not confirm the
deaths.

No group immediately claimed responsibility, but
the attack was likely carried out by al-Shabab, Somalia`s most
dangerous militant group.

Late last month al-Shabab militants stormed a
Mogadishu hotel favored by lawmakers and killed 32 people,
including four parliamentarians. In July, al-Shabab
masterminded twin bombings in Uganda`s capital during the
World Cup final, attacks that killed 76 people.

Al-Shabab recently declared a new, stepped-up
campaign to overthrow Somalia`s government and install the
harsh, ultraconservative form of Sharia law that it practices
across Somalia.

Militant veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan
conflicts help train al-Shabab fighters, one of the reasons
the sophistication of its attacks has risen in recent months.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, September 9, 2010 - 21:17

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