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Bomb to blame for hole in Somali jetliner

Somalia's transport minister has said a bomb aimed at killing everyone onboard a flight blew a hole in a passenger jet. Authorities have blamed the attack on al-Shabab militants.

Somalia's Transport and Aviation Minister Ali Jama Jangali said on Saturday that a bomb created a hole in the fuselage of an Airbus A321 on Tuesday.

"Additional investigations conducted by Somali and international experts have confirmed the explosion that occurred inside the Daallo Airlines (jet) was not a technical problem but was a bomb that was intended to destroy the plane and kill all passengers onboard," Jama said during a press conference in Mogadishu.

One passenger was killed during the explosion, although it is unclear whether his body was ejected from the plane during the incident.

According to Jama, police arrested several suspects in connection with the explosion.

"The security forces have detained people suspected of being involved the bomb that exploded inside that plane," Jama said.

The bomb exploded while the plane was ascending and did not damage the aircraft's navigation system, allowing Serbian pilot Vladimir Vodopivec to make an emergency landing in Mogadishu 15 minutes after taking off.

Somali authorities blamed the attack on the al-Shabab militant group operating in the country, although it has yet to claim responsibility.

In 2015, a bomb attack claimed by the "Islamic State" militant group brought down a Russian passenger aircraft over Egypt's Sinai region, killing all 224 people onboard.

ls/sms (Reuters, AFP, AP)