MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Somalia’s al Shabaab insurgents 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.
“Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen carried out the airborne operation as a retribution for the crimes committed by the coalition of Western crusaders and their intelligence agencies against the Muslims of Somalia,” al Shabaab said in an emailed statement.
Last week, U.S. government sources said investigators suspected the Islamist militant group, which has links to al Qaeda, was responsible.
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 Shabaab, which wants to overthrow the Somali government and impose a harsh version of Islamic law, has targeted the airport in the past. It has also attacked the Turkish embassy in Mogadishu.
Reporting by Feisal Omar; Writing by George Obulutsa; editing by Adrian Croft