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Suspected Suicide Bomber Fails to Kill Somalia's Interim President


Somalia's interim President Abdullahi Yusuf survived an assassination attempt Monday that the foreign minister blames on al-Qaida terrorists.

Mr. Yusuf was unhurt when a suspected suicide car bomber attacked the president's convoy as it drove past the parliament building in Baidoa.

The blast killed five people in the convoy, including President Yusuf's brother. Officials say security forces killed six presumed assailants in a gunbattle.

No one has claimed responsibility for Monday's attack. But Foreign Minister Ismail Mohamed Hurreh says the fingerprints of al-Qaida are all over it. He also said Islamists, who control the capital of Mogadishu and much of the south, have recently made very belligerent statements ahead of upcoming peace talks.

An Islamic spokesman Monday condemned the attack and called the assassins the enemies of Somalia.

Somalia's UN. backed interim government and the Islamists are attempting to work out a peace agreement as both try to expand their authority over the country.

Talks have been deadlocked over the issue of a regional peacekeeping force in Somalia, which the Islamists strongly oppose.

Somalia has been without an effective central government since 1991, when former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted. Since then, warlords have carved up much of the country. The U.N.-backed interim government was put in place in 2004, but little progress has been towards lasting peace.

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