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Somali official killed in explosion

Associated Press / June 11, 2011

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MOGADISHU, Somalia — An explosion yesterday in the home of Somalia’s interior minister killed him and a woman suspected of being a bomber as violent demonstrations swept the capital.

Interior Minister Abdishakur Sheik Hassan, who also was minister for national security, died after shrapnel hit his legs and other parts of his body, said Ministry of Information spokesman Abdifatah Abdinur. Abdinur said a dead body of a female suspected to be the bomber was found in the home.

Mohamud Abdullahi Weheliye, a member of Parliament, said the minister’s niece carried out the attack and that she was sent by Al Shabab, a militia with ties to Al Qaeda. The group has carried out suicide bombings, including ones that targeted government officials. There was no immediate official confirmation of Weheliye’s account.

Abdinur said officials were investigating to confirm it was a suicide attack in the two-story, gated building that is normally well protected. The explosion reportedly took place in the sitting room.

“The walls of the sitting room cracked and blood and debris were scattered all over,’’ said Mohamed Mohamud, a witness who visited the site. The house is near the Foreign Ministry and in a neighborhood inhabited by government officials.

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