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Video Seems To Show Somali Airport Workers Had Role In Plane Bombing

A hole is seen in a plane operated by Daallo Airlines as it sits on a runway at the airport in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Tuesday.
A hole is seen in a plane operated by Daallo Airlines as it sits on a runway at the airport in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Tuesday.

After an airplane passenger set off a bomb last week, the pilot managed to land the plane safely in Mogadishu, Somalia. Now CCTV footage released by the Somali government indicates airport workers may have been in on the attack.

The only casualty of the attack was the bomber, who apparently was sucked out of the hole in the side of the plane.

NPR's Gregory Warner tells our Newscast unit that the bomber was originally scheduled to fly on a Turkish Airlines flight. Here's more from Gregory:

"The camera footage released by Somali officials shows two airport workers handing a leather suitcase to a passenger after he went through security at the international airport in Mogadishu.

"The passenger was scheduled to fly a Turkish Airlines flight that was canceled for bad weather.

"Instead, he joined rerouted passengers on the Dubai-based Daallo Airlines to Djibouti. He detonated his explosive midflight, blowing a hole in the cabin.

"Amazingly, the airplane remained airborne and returned to the airport. The bomber was the only death — sucked out of the hole. Somali officials say six people have been arrested."

A YouTube video posted by the Somali government on Twitter purportedly shows the bomb passoff at Mogadishu's Aden Adde International Airport. Footage released at the same time shows the inside of the cabin after the explosion.

The cellphone video of the windy plane cabin shows passengers looking strikingly unfazed about the bomb that just exploded and the hole it left behind.

The BBC reportsthat "most of the 74 passengers on board the flight to Djibouti were transferred from Turkish Airlines, according to Mohamed Ibrahim Yasin Ola, head of Daallo Airlines, which operated the Airbus 321 that was bombed."

The bombing happened around 15 minutes after the plane took off, "when the plane was only at around 11,000ft and the cabin was not yet pressurised," the BBC reported.

The bomber's identity is unknown and no militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Gregory says "airline officials suspect the al-Qaida-linked group al-Shabab."

As Gregory has reported, the militant organization al-Shabab has carried out numerous attacks in Somalia and "targets anyone who deviates from its extremist interpretation of Islam."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Merrit Kennedy is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers a broad range of issues, from the latest developments out of the Middle East to science research news.
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