A Somali official confirmed Saturday that a bomb was responsible for the blast aboard a Djibouti-bound passenger jet that forced pilots to make an emergency landing Tuesday. According to officials, the bomb exploded about 15 minutes into the flight, and tore a gaping hole through the side of the plane.
“It was a bomb that exploded in the Daallo Airlines flight,” Somali Transport Minister Ali Ahmed Jamac told BBC News. “It was meant to kill all aboard.”
One passenger was killed as the result of being sucked out of the Airbus A321, and two other passengers were injured.
CNN reported Friday that investigators arrested a suspect in the case, Abdullahi Abdisalam Borleh, a Somali national. One source told the media outlet the bomb was encased in a laptop computer that Borleh brought aboard. “The source said, given the placement, the blast likely would have set off a catastrophic secondary explosion in the fuel tank had the aircraft reached cruising altitude,” CNN reported.
No militant group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. However, CNN reported that officials were attempting to determine whether Borleh is affiliated with al-Shabab, a militant group linked with al Qaeda.
According to Daallo Airlines, the flight operator, the specific nature of the explosion is under investigation. “The incident is currently being investigated by Civil Aviation Authority in Mogadishu as well as technical team of aircraft owners Hermes Airlines, Greece, in close coordination with Civil Aviation Authority, Greece, and aircraft manufacturers Airbus,” the airline said in a statement.
The flight’s captain, Vlatko Vodopivec, told BBC News that the bomb exploded during the flight’s initial ascent, at around 11,000 feet.
“It was my first bomb,” Vodopivec said. “I hope it will be the last.”