An explosion which tore a hole in a passenger plane was caused by a bomb designed to kill everyone on board, the Somalian government has confirmed.
The blast, which sucked one man out of the aircraft and left two people with minor injuries, is now being investigated – and both the US and Somalia believe al Shabaab was responsible.
Somalian officials had earlier been reluctant to confirm what caused the explosion, and no group has come forward to claim responsibility for the attack.
Six people have been arrested in connection with the explosion after CCTV footage from the airport was examined, according to the AP news agency.
The pilot of the Airbus A321, which was carrying 74 people, managed to make a safe emergency landing after the bomb went off only minutes after take-off from Mogadishu.
However, a police officer later said a man in his 50s “dropped when the explosion occurred in the plane” – and his body was found 19 miles north of the airport.
Somalia’s government has identified him as Abdullahi Abdisalam Borle, but has refused to give further details about how he died.
In the hours following the crash, an aviation expert who had examined pictures of the damage said it was consistent with an explosive device.
The plane, operated by Daallo Airlines, was headed to Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
Vladimir Vodopivec, the pilot, had said: “Luckily, the flight controls were not damaged so I could return and land at the airport.
“Something like this has never happened in my flight career. We lost pressure in the cabin. Thank God it ended well.”
Many of those on board had been rebooked onto the flight after a Turkish Airlines service was cancelled at the last minute.
Daallo’s chief executive has claimed its rival’s decision could have been linked to intelligence it had received about a possible security threat.
However, a Turkish Airlines official denied this – and insisted the flights had been cancelled because of bad weather.