By Leigha Wentz,
International News Editor
Somalian officials issued a statement on Saturday, Feb. 6 that the in flight explosion that created a hole in the fuselage of Daallo Airlines Flight 3159 on Tuesday, February 2 was caused by a bomb. According to CNN, the bomb was likely carried by Abdullahi Abdisalam Borleh, a Somali national who has also been confirmed as the sole casualty of the explosion. Borleh was sucked out of the plane as a result of the explosion.
The blast occurred shortly after takeoff, forcing the Airbus 321 to make an emergency landing at Somalia’s Mogadishu airport. According to Somali transport officials, the bomb had been intended to cause significant damage.
“It [the bomb] was meant to kill all aboard,” Somali Transport Minister Ali Ahmed Jamac said, as quoted by the BBC.
The attack has yet to be claimed by any militant group, although CNN reports that initial investigations point to the involvement of Al-Shabaab, an al Qaeda affiliate active in Somalia. In a statement made at the time of the explosion, Daallo Airlines announced that an investigation had been launched by Somalia’s Civil Aviation Authority.
Two passengers were injured before the pilot was able to safely land the plane, while Borleh’s body may have been located 18 miles north of Mogadishu in the town of Balad. Serbian captain Vlatko Vodopivec told the BBC that the bomb exploded at 11,000 feet.
“It would have been much worse if we were higher,” he said, adding, “It was my first bomb; I hope it will be the last.”
The flight had departed from the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah shortly before the explosion, and was en route to Djibouti before the emergency landing. Pictures taken shortly after the event revealed a hole in the side of the plane near the wing.
According to CNN, Al-Shabaab, the suspected perpetrators behind the attack, has been responsible for recent spikes of violence in and around Somali territory.
Last month’s fatal attack on a Mogadishu hotel and the Garissa University massacre in Kenya were both claimed by the group, who are allegedly attempting to create an Islamic state in the region.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, February 9th print edition.
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