|Page (1) of 1 - 10/05/11||email article||print page|
Al-Qaida-linked militants vow Somalia attacks will 'increase day by day' after bomb kills 70
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) ' Al-Qaida-linked militants threatened more terror attacks that will "increase day by day" after a suicide bomber killed 70 people. Mourners transported coffins atop cars Wednesday to funerals for those who perished in al-Shabab's deadliest bomb attack in Somalia.
A truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of building housing several government ministries in a busy street in the war-ravaged capital. The attack came more than a month after most al-Shabab fighters melted away from Mogadishu amid a pro-government offensive, and showed that the insurgents remain a severe threat.
Al-Shabab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage identified the suicide bomber as Somali student Bashar Abdullahi Nur. He said the attack was a warning to those who thought the group had left Mogadishu for good in August.
"We wish to inform the Muslim people that the campaign against infidels will be back-to-back and by God's grace will increase day by day and will increase in the coming hours," Rage said. "I will give a good tiding to the infidels: You will face big and broad blows."
Tuesday's thunderous blast covered the city in dust more than a half-mile (800 meters) away and left blackened corpses sprawled amid burning vehicles and dozens wounded. The attack triggered outrage and grief.
"May Allah put them in hell," one Somali woman sobbed as a young man tried to comfort her. She then collapsed near the coffin of her dead son that was placed by a sandy grave.
Sadiya Omar, who lost her husband in Tuesday's bombing, left the scene of the funeral before he was interred, saying it was more than she could bear.
"The world will get no peace while killers like al-Shabab are still here," she cried, her tears dripping through her black veil.
President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed declared three days of mourning and vowed late Tuesday that his government would put in place security measures to avert future bombings. His government is supported by some 9,000 African Union peacekeepers who control only the capital.
"I'm sure the crime they committed against the Somali people will not go unpunished," Ahmed said of the al-Shabab militants. "God will punish them and the government will take appropriate measures to save the Somali people from those dangers."
The bomb exploded outside the Ministry of Education, where students and their parents were registering for scholarships offered by the Turkish government.
"It shows their barbarism and how hell-bent they're to hit the public where it hearts most," he said. "We can certainly say their ideology is directed at annihilating Somali people. What they're targeting is the education."
Maj. Gen. Fred Mugisha, the commander of the African Union Mission to Somalia force, known as AMISOM, said the attack targeted several Somali government institutions.
The suicide bomber detonated the explosives after the vehicle rammed a checkpoint outside a compound housing several government ministries, Mugisha said.
Al-Shabab said it was striking government officials and foreigners ' referring to AU peacekeeping troops.
The U.N. Security Council called the attack a "heinous crime." In Washington, White House press secretary Jay Carney said it was a "despicable and cowardly act."
Although the Islamic fighters made what they called a "tactical withdrawal" from their bases in Mogadishu they had vowed to carry out devastating suicide attacks.
Associated Press writer Malkhadir M. Muhumed in Nairobi, Kenya and Anita Snow at the United Nations contributed to this report.