Turkish Airlines was real target of Somali plane bomber
A suicide bomber who blew a hole in the fuselage of a Daallo Airlines plane in Somalia last week was meant to be on a Turkish Airlines flight, Daallo's chief executive has said.
The Daallo Airlines A320 was forced to make an emergency landing in Mogadishu following the incident last week.
Only the bomber was sucked out of the plane through the one-metre-wide hole when the blast ripped open the pressurised cabin in flight, officials said. No other passengers were killed, although there were some injuries.
No group has so far taken responsibility for the attack but US officials have indicated the Daesh-aligned militant group al Shabaab, which also has links to al Qaeda, was responsible for the blast.
Daallo Airlines chief executive Mohamed Yassin, said most of the passengers who were on the targeted flight were scheduled to fly with Turkish Airlines, but were flown to Djibouti by one of his planes after the Turkish Airlines cancelled its flight due to bad weather.
"That particular passenger (who was behind the blast) boarded the aircraft on a Turkish Airlines boarding pass and was on the list for the Turkish Airlines manifest," Yassin told Reuters.
Somalia, mired in conflict since civil war broke out in 1991, has few air links outside East Africa. In 2012, Turkish Airlines became the first major international commercial airline to fly out of Somalia in more than two decades.
Somali officials said an investigation had been launched and arrests made, including airport workers.
CCTV footage released by the Somali National Intelligence Agency (NISA) appears to show two airport workers inside the terminal handing the suicide bomber a laptop, according to the government spokesman.