Al Shabab militants claim responsibility for airline blast

Al Shabab militant group claims responsibility for bomb attack on passenger plane, which was forced to make emergency landing in Somali capital

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

A hole is seen in a plane operated by Daallo Airlines as it sits on the runway of the airport in Mogadishu, Somalia, February 2, 2016.

Somalia's al Shabab militants said on Saturday they were responsible for a blast that punched a hole in the fuselage of a plane last week that the government said was caused by a bomb meant to kill everyone on board.

The suspected suicide bomber was sucked out of the Daallo Airlines plane through a one-metre (one-yard) wide hole when the blast ripped open the pressurised cabin in flight, officials said last week.

Al Shabab said in an emailed statement that the attack was "retribution for the crimes committed by the coalition of Western crusaders and their intelligence agencies against the Muslims of Somalia."

The plane made an emergency landing in the Somali capital.

Daallo's chief executive said the bomber was meant to be on a Turkish Airlines flight that was cancelled due to bad weather.

Daallo had picked up the 70 stranded Turkish Airlines passengers to fly them to Djibouti, including the suicide bomber. In total, the flight had 74 passengers.

Al Shabab, which wants to overthrow the Somali government has targeted the airport in the past. It has also attacked the Turkish embassy in Mogadishu.

TRTWorld, Reuters