Pilot: Explosion On Somalian Plane Caused By Bomb

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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A Tuesday explosion on a Daallo Airlines plane over Somalia, which caused a massive hole in its fuselage, is suspected to have been caused by a bomb.

While Somalian officials have not said whether the explosion on the Airbus A321 was man-made or due to a mechanical failure, there are reports claiming U.S. officials believe the large hole was caused by a bomb.

There was one casualty on the plane, a 55-year-old man who was pulled from the aircraft after the explosion — only two of the remaining 73 passengers suffered minor injuries.

“The investigation goes on,” said Abdiwahid Omar on Somalian radio Tuesday. He did not mention what had caused the explosion.

“It was my first bomb; I hope it will be the last,” said Vlatko Vodopivec, the captain of the plane, to BBC. He noted the blast occurred during takeoff, at around 11,000 feet.

Mohammed Hussein, an agent for Daallo Airlines, told Reuters “a fire had exploded,” however another source claimed that flammable objects are not put in aircraft. Some experts speculated that an oxygen bottle may have caused the blast, though reports have noted oxygen usually catches fire instead of exploding.

The incident follows the December announcement of a new branch of the Islamic State in Somalia due to an internal split between elements of Somalian terrorist group al-Shabaab.

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