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20 killed in explosion in Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) - Somalia's president says al-Qaida is
behind a suicide bombing that killed the national security minister
and 19 other people in a western Somali town.
Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed says a senior Somali diplomat also died
in Thursday's attack.
Ahmed spoke to journalists in the Somali capital.
Dr. Abdirahin Omar Amin of Belet Weyne Hospital says some people
died immediately and others died when they got to the hospital. He
says most of the dead have been burnt beyond recognition.
Ahmed Ato, an administrator at the hospital, says the explosion
occurred outside the town's Medina Hotel. The hotel is frequented
by Somali government officials.
Belet Weyne is the capital of the central Somalia region of
Hiran. It is close to the border with Ethiopia.
Somalia has not had an effective government for 18 years after
warlords overthrew a longtime dictator and plunged the country into
anarchy and chaos.

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