Mogadishu hotel bomber may have been Somali-German national

2015-07-28 12:33
A body lies in the rubble near the Jazeera Palace hotel following a suicide attack in Mogadishu. (File, AFP)

A body lies in the rubble near the Jazeera Palace hotel following a suicide attack in Mogadishu. (File, AFP)

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Mogadishu - A suicide truck bomber who killed at least 13 people Sunday in Somalia may have been a dual Somali-German national, security sources said on Tuesday.

"Initial reports we have from the on-going investigations indicate the high possibility that a German national of Somali origin drove the truck that rammed into the hotel," a senior security official said on condition of anonymity. They did not name the bomber.

Sources in Mogadishu said DNA testing was being carried out on what was left of the bomber's body after the large explosion that ripped an outer wall from the six-storey Jazeera Palace Hotel.

Other government sources said the suspected suicide bomber had lived in the country for the last few years.

"His relatives knew about his presence in Somalia for the past several years and he fought alongside al-Shabaab," a source said.

Sunday's bombing killed at least 13 people at the hotel, which was popular with government officials and foreign visitors and housed three diplomatic missions, including China's.

Dual nationality Somalis have carried out numerous suicide attacks over the years, most recently in February when a Dutch-Somalia man and woman blew themselves up at Mogadishu's Central Hotel killing at least 25 people.

In 2008 the first known American suicide bomber, and one of the earliest recorded suicide attacks in Somalia was 26-year old US-Somali Shirwa Ahmed who blew himself up in Puntland, in northern Somalia.

The al-Qaeda-affiliated Shabaab has a long history of attracting radicalised members of Somalia's far-flung diaspora as well as foreign fighters, although its appeal has been overshadowed in recently by the rise of ISIS and other newly ascendant jihadist groups.

The group is fighting to overthrow the Western-backed government in Mogadishu.

Read more on:    somalia  |  east africa  |  security
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