Car bomb attack on Somalia’s main airport is reported to have killed 2, officials say

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Car bomb attack on Somalia’s main airport kills 2

MOGADISHU, Somalia — A car bomb exploded at the front gates to Mogadishu’s seaside airport on Thursday, killing at least two people in the latest in a surge of attacks against the country’s weak government, officials 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-Qaida-linked militant group al-Shabab from overthrowing Somalia’s weak government.

Yussef said he believes two women who were begging near the gate were killed and that a policeman was wounded. A spokesman with the African Union confirmed the car bomb attack but said he didn’t immediately have any more details.

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.

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