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Somalia suicide bomber 'was from Denmark'

An injured man is carried away in Mogadishu, Somalia (3 Dec 2009)
Most of the dead were reported to have been students

A suicide bomber who killed at least 22 people at a graduation in Somalia was brought up in Denmark, officials say.

Somali Information Minister Dahir Gelle told the BBC that the bomber's parents, who live in Copenhagen, identified their son's body from photographs.

Reports say he left Somalia when he was a child and spent 20 years in Denmark, before returning to Somalia last year.

He reportedly joined the hard-line Islamist group al-Shabab - although they have previously denied the attack.

Al-Shabab and other radical Islamist groups control much of the country.

I had to step over their bodies to get out - people were screaming: 'Is it a bomb? Is it a bomb?'
Mohammed Olad Hassan
BBC reporter

The Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) also says the bomber was from Denmark, according to local media.

The Copenhagen Post quoted PET as saying the man was in his 20s and was "a Somali citizen who had residence in Denmark".

"As PET has indicated numerous times in the past, there are people with ties to Denmark who have gone through militant Islamic training and radicalisation and who are involved in terror-related activities in several countries, including in Somalia," a PET statement said, according to the newspaper.

The bombing took place at a graduation for medical students on 3 December in one of the few parts of the capital, Mogadishu, which is controlled by the government.

The students had been graduating from Benadir University, which was set up in 2002 to train doctors to replace those who had fled overseas or been killed in the civil war.

Three ministers were among the dead.

Al-Shabab, which wants to enforce a strict version of Islamic law in Somalia, is accused of having links to al-Qaeda.

It has previously carried out several suicide bombings on government targets - but it has usually claimed responsibility immediately.

Somalia has had no effective government for almost 20 years.



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