Sui­cide bomber in wheel­chair sus­pected in mid-flight blast on So­ma­lian plane

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL - By Meg Wag­ner NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Asui­cide bomber strapped into a wheel­chair may have been be­hind the mid-flight ex­plo­sion on board a So­ma­lian plane, a Western diplo­mat said.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieve the ex­plo­sive-loaded man’s wheel­chair al­lowed him to skirt around air­port se­cu­rity and get onto the pas­sen­ger jet with the bomb, a source told the Wall Street Jour­nal.

The blast — which went off just min­utes af­ter the flight took off from Mogadishu’s air­port on Tues­day — blew a hole in the cabin and ejected the al­leged bomber, send­ing him plum­met­ing to the ground below.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieve the Al-Shabaab mil­i­tant group is be­hind the at­tack, an Amer­i­can source told Reuters.

So­ma­lia’s in­ves­ti­ga­tors have in­sisted that there are no signs of crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity but two U.S. govern­ment sources said on Wed­nes­day that ini­tial foren­sic test­ing de­tected pos­si­ble traces of the ex­plo­sive TNT on the air­craft. More tests are un­der­way.

Al-Shabaab, the Al Qaedalinked mil­i­tant group be­hind nu­mer­ous ter­ror at­tacks in East­ern Africa, has not claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the ex­plo­sion.

Pas­sen­ger Ab­dul­lahi Ab­dis­alam Bor­leh was killed by the blast on the Daallo Air­lines plane, car­rier of­fi­cials said. So­ma­lian of­fi­cials have not named him a sus­pect in the ex­plo­sion.

Lo­cal au­thor­i­ties north of Mogadishu said the body of a man — be­lieved to have been sucked out through the hole in the fuse­lage made by the blast — was found in their area.

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