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Archive for Friday, June 19, 2009

Somali security minister killed in explosion

June 19, 2009

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— Somalia’s national security minister and at least 24 other people were killed in a suicide attack Thursday in western Somalia, and an extremist Islamic group with alleged links to al-Qaida claimed responsibility.

President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed accused al-Qaida of being behind the bombing, which also killed a senior Somali diplomat. He did not offer any evidence, but the attack appeared to be another indication that Somali Islamic militants are adopting two tactics long used by al-Qaida: suicide attacks and videos promoting their fundamentalist ideology.

In March, Osama bin Laden, the global terrorist network’s leader, urged Somalis to overthrow Ahmed, calling him a tool of the United States in an audiotape that outlined al-Qaida’s ambitions in Somalia.

“It was an act of terrorism and it is part of the terrorist attack on our people,” Ahmed told journalists in Mogadishu, his country’s capital. “Al-Qaida is attacking us.”

The African Union, Arab League, the U.N. and a regional grouping condemned the attack in a joint statement.

“This deplorable attack once again demonstrates that the extremists will stop at nothing in their desperate attempt to seize power from the legitimate government of Somalia by force,” the statement said.

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