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MOGADISHU, Somalia — An explosion and fire blew a gaping hole in a commercial airliner forcing it to make an emergency landing at Mogadishu's international airport late Tuesday, officials and witnesses said.
The pilot said he thinks it was a bomb. An aviation expert who looked at photographs of the hole in the fuselage said the damage was consistent with an explosive device.
"I think it was a bomb," said the Serbian pilot, Vladimir Vodopivec, who was quoted by Belgrade daily Blic. "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," the 64-year-old pilot said.
Yassin confirmed that the aircraft arrived in Mogadishu after a flight from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Some 204 passengers traveled on the earlier flight, and the aircraft was on the ground in Somalia for about one hour.