Car bomber targeting official convoy kills 7

Seven people were killed Sunday in the Somali capital when a suicide bomber attempted to ram a car laden with explosives into a military convoy escorting a four-member delegation from Qatar.

Gen. Garad Nor Abdulle, a senior police official, said the delegation members, who were being escorted in Mogadishu in the Interior Minister’s convoy, were unharmed and reached their hotel safely. He said the interior minister was not in the convoy.

Mohamed Abdi, an officer at the scene of the blast, said four civilians and a soldier died immediately. Two people died after they were taken to a hospital, and 18 were being treated for their injuries, said Dr. Duniya Mohamed Ali at the Medina hospital.

The Qatari delegates are involved in development projects in Mogadishu, Somali President Hassan Sheik Mohamud said. Mohamud blamed the al-Qaeda-linked Somali group al-Shabab for the attack and said “suspects” had been arrested.

In a separate incident Sunday, four Somali soldiers were wounded when a roadside bomb struck a government vehicle in Mogadishu’s northwest, said Ali Jimale, a police captain.

The car bombing falls into a pattern of attacks blamed on the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab, which has been pushed out of much of the areas it occupied in South and Central Somalia by African Union troops.

— Associated Press

Clashes, bombing
kill six troops

Military operations and insurgent attacks Sunday in lawless districts of Pakistan killed six troops and nearly 30 militants, officials said.

Two soldiers and 16 militants were killed in clashes in the Tirah Valley area of the Khyber tribal region in the northwest, the military said in a statement. Three soldiers were wounded in the mountainous district near the Afghan border.

In the North Waziristan tribal region, another northwestern district, a roadside bomb attack on a convoy killed two soldiers and wounded three, two Pakistani intelligence officials said. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

The tribal region is home to both Pakistani and Afghan militant groups, including al-Qaeda-linked organizations with significant numbers of foreign fighters.

Also Sunday, two members of the paramilitary Frontier Corps were killed in clashes in the southwestern province of Baluchistan, said government official Waheed Shah. He said the fight also killed 13 people suspected in kidnappings and robberies. Baluchistan has for years experienced a low-level insurgency by nationalist groups who want a greater share of regional resources of oil and gas. Lawlessness in the region has also allowed sectarian groups and criminal gangs to operate.

— Associated Press

German troop’s death
ends bloody week

A member of Germany’s special forces was killed Saturday in Afghanistan, the army said Sunday, the first German soldier to die in the country in almost two years.

Violence is intensifying across Afghanistan, and there is growing concern about how Afghan security forces will manage once foreign troops withdraw by the end of next year.

Last week, 22 foreign troops died in Afghanistan and three American soldiers died supporting the Afghan mission in Kyrgyzstan.

The toll included the deaths of seven U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan on Saturday in two attacks.

— Reuters

Malaysia’s ruling coalition holds on to power: Malaysia’s governing coalition won national elections Sunday to extend its 56 years of unbroken rule, fending off the strongest opposition it has faced but exposing vulnerabilities. The Election Commission reported that Prime Minister Najib Razak’s National Front coalition captured 127 of the 222 parliamentary seats to win a majority. Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s three-party alliance seized 77 seats, and other races were too close to call. It was the National Front’s 13th consecutive victory in general elections since independence from Britain in 1957.

Libya passes ban on Gaddafi-era officials: Libya’s parliament on Sunday overwhelmingly approved a law that bans government officials who held senior positions under Moammar Gaddafi from holding high-level posts. The bill, dubbed the “Political Isolation Law,” could effectively dismiss many of Libya’s current leaders for having served under Gaddafi decades ago, regardless of their role during the 2011 uprising that led to his ouster and death.

— From news services