Somalia bombing attacks graduation

Somalia A suicide bomber disguised in women’s clothing attacked the graduation ceremony for medical students in Somalia, killing at least 19 people, including four government ministers. BBC reports:

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.

Students, families and government officials had gathered at the Shamo Hotel to celebrate the medical school graduation, the second in the country in more than two decades, according to AP.

The attack targeted one of Somalia’s most important efforts to extricate itself from anarchy and violence, explaining the presence of so many top government officials. The graduating medical students were only the second class to receive diplomas from the medical school. [The first class was last year.]

“The loss of our ministers is disastrous, but it is an outrage to target the graduation of medical students and kill those whose only aim in life was to help those most in need in our stricken country,” Somali Prime Minister Omar Sharmarke said.

Militant groups control most of the country and most of the capital of Mogadishu, while the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) struggles to survive. While anti-government militants belong to more than one group, the al-Shabab mlitia is the dominant militia and is believedto be linked to al-Qaida.

Pakistan Suicide bombers struck a mosque in Pakistan Friday, killing at least 35 people, reports NPR. They sprayed the crowd at prayer with gunfire and tossed grenades before blowing themselves up. The mosque was close to Pakistan’s army headquarters in Rawalpindi. Insurgents have targeted army and government installations over the past few months.

On Nov. 2, a team of militants attacked the army headquarters and held dozens hostage in a 22-hour standoff that left nine militants and 14 other people dead.

Violence in nuclear-armed Pakistan has escalated since the army launched an offensive in mid-October against Taliban militants in the northwestern tribal area of South Waziristan near the Afghan border.

Afghanistan NATO pledged to send an additional 7,000 troops to Afghanistan, starting in January,t. It’s not clear where the troops will come from.

Britain has already pledged 500 more soldiers, while Italy, Poland, Georgia and Slovakia are sending new deployments, from a few dozen to 1,000 — bringing the total NATO commitment of additional forces to as many as 8,000 troops, according to a senior diplomat at NATO headquarters here.

Adding up the numbers, that’s clearly less than half the 7,000. France previously said it would not send any additional troops.

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