Somalia's president says the suicide bombing that killed more than 20 people including three government ministers in Mogadishu is a national tragedy.
The bomber entered a university graduation ceremony at the Shamo Hotel Thursday disguised as a woman wearing an abaya (cloak) and blew himself up. The room was packed with medical students from Banadir University waiting to receive their diplomas, as well as their family members and officials. Among those killed in the blast were the Somali minister for health, Qamar Adan Ali, minister for education, Ahmed Abdulahi Waayeel and higher education minister, Ibrahim Addow.
It is the worst attack on the Somali government since it ousted Islamist insurgents from power in 2006. Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed said it is against Somalia's faith and culture to perpetrate such heinous acts, as he puts it. Somalia's information minister, Dahir Mohamud Geele blamed the attack on the al-Shabab Islamist group, which has links to al-Qaida.
The attack drew condemnation from the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, Norway, the Arab League, and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, an east African body.