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Somalia’s Main Airport Attacked by Suicide Bomber

Sept. 9 (Bloomberg) -- At least nine people, including two African Union peacekeepers, died in a suicide-bomb attack on the main airport in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, Information Minister Abdirahman Omar Osman said.

Two vehicles attacked the main gate to the airport today. One exploded, while four gunmen in a second vehicle got through the entrance and shot at AU peacekeepers before blowing themselves up, Osman said in an e-mailed statement. Three civilians also died in the attack, he said. An employee at a local airline known as African Express is among the dead, said Barige Ba-Hoku, Amisom’s spokesman in Mogadishu, in an e-mailed statement.

“Somalia’s government bitterly regrets the sad loss of three civilians and two Amisom soldiers in today’s suicide bombers attack in Mogadishu airport,” he said, according to the statement. Al-Shabaab “offer nothing but terror, intimidation and the defiling of our culture.”

Al-Shabaab, the rebel militia that the U.S. accuses of having links to al-Qaeda and which has been fighting the Somali government for the past three years, began a new offensive against the Western-backed administration on Aug. 23. The United Nations refugee agency said on Sept. 7 that 230 civilians have been killed in the clashes.

Deutsche Presse-Agentur said 10 people died in the attack. It cited Zakaria Ahmed Salim, who owns a shop by the aiport gate.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hamsa Omar in Mogadishu via Johannesburg at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.

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