In Brief

Somali plane bomb: Turkey 'was intended target'

Suicide bomber who tried to down jet was meant to board Turkish Airlines plane

The suicide bomber who attempted to down a Daallo Airlines jet in Somalia should have been on a Turkish Airlines flight, the Somali-owned airline has confirmed.

Flight 3159 was forced to return and make an emergency landing in Mogadishu last week after an explosion ripped a hole in the fuselage and sucked the suicide bomber out of the aircraft.

The majority of the passengers on the plane, including the bomber, had been due to fly with Turkish Airlines, but the flight was cancelled due to bad weather conditions.

"The new finding suggests the attacker may have been deliberately targeting Turkey, a country that is supporting Somalia in its fight against Islamist extremist groups," says the Wall Street Journal.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, though US officials believe it bears the hallmarks of Al-Shabab, the Islamist terrorist group trying to overthrow the Somali government.

Somalian authorities have released CCTV footage said to show airport staff handing the suicide bomber a laptop believed to contain explosives before he boarded the flight.

At least 20 people have been arrested in connection with the bombing, including airport employees. Officials say security has been stepped up at airports across Somalia in the wake of the attack.

Passenger 'sucked out of plane' after explosion 

3 February

An elderly man plummeted to earth after being sucked out of a hole in an aeroplane, according to witnesses who watched the damaged plane make an emergency landing in Somalia.

Locals reportedly saw a man engulfed in flames tumbling from the aircraft, while Mohamed Hassan, a policeman in Balad, north of Mogadishu, said  a charred body had been discovered nearby, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Daallo Airlines flight D3159 had just taken off from the Somali capital en route to Djibouti and was still climbing when an explosion ripped a hole in the body of the aeroplane. As fires began to break out inside, the pilot managed to turn back and make an emergency landing at Mogadishu airport.

Video footage apparently filmed inside the aeroplane shows passengers calmly moving away from the gaping hole as wind rushes through the cabin.

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Among the passengers was Awale Kullane, Somalia's deputy ambassador to the United Nations. In a now-deleted post on Facebook, he described how he "heard a loud noise and couldn't see anything but smoke for a few seconds" before realising "quite a chunk" of the plane was missing.

Only two injuries were reported among the 74 people on board, although it is not known if all passengers have been accounted for. No official response has been given to reports of a man falling from the plane, although a source told CNN that one person was suspected to have fallen to their death.

The plane's pilot, Vladimir Vodopivec, said he believed the explosion was a bomb. "Luckily, the flight controls were not damaged so I could return and land at the airport," he said. "Something like this has never happened in my flight career."

Images of the aircraft after it returned to the ground show a charred tear in the fuselage, which aviation experts have confirmed as consistent with bomb damage.

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