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EXPLOSION

Three Spanish airmen injured in Djibouti blast

Three people were killed, including a male and female suicide bomber, and 15 wounded in late Saturday's attack on a restaurant popular with Westerners in central Djibouti, local media said on Sunday.

Three Spanish airmen injured in Djibouti blast
Spain's Defense Ministry says an air force sergeant and two corporals were wounded on Saturday night at the cafe packed with soldiers of different nationalities. Photo: YouTube

Spain's Defense Ministry have said an air force sergeant and two corporals were wounded on Saturday night at the cafe packed with soldiers of different nationalities.

"According to the initial indications from the investigation, the three dead include two suicide bombers of Somali origin, a man and a veiled woman. Out of the wounded, four are in a serious condition," the agency quoted the interior ministry as saying.Quoting an interior ministry statement, Djibouti's ADI news agency said the attackers were from Somalia, where Djiboutian troops are part of an African Union force fighting Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels.

Spanish officials have said the blast was caused by a grenade, but German officials claim it’s not yet known if this is was the case. 

The attack targeted La Chaumiere, a restaurant reported to have been packed with westerners.

The French foreign ministry confirmed that several of its nationals were slightly wounded in the attack, and the Netherlands' De Telegraaf reported that six Dutch soldiers who had been taking part in an anti-piracy mission were also slightly hurt.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, although Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guelleh was quoted as saying by ADI that the attack was a "violent reaction to our participation in the process to stabilise and secure the region".

The president also vowed to "do everything to find those who ordered this barbaric attack", and said "this act of blind terrorism will not change our determination to fight alongside the international community".

The Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti, a former French colony, is home to the United States' biggest base in Africa which is used for anti-terror operations in Yemen, Somalia as well as for other operations across Africa.

France also maintains a military base in Djibouti.

Djibouti is also a key contributor of troops to the African Union force in Somalia, and the Shebab have already carried out attacks against Kenya and Uganda, who also have forces in Somalia.

Djibouti's port also serves as a key base for ships taking part in international anti-piracy operations off the Somali coast.

The operation to protect international shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden has led to a sharp drop in piracy in recent years.

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EXPLOSION

What we know about the victims of gas explosion in central Madrid

The toll from a powerful explosion caused by a gas leak that gutted a building in a residential part of Madrid rose to four on Thursday after a priest died from his injuries.

What we know about the victims of gas explosion in central Madrid
Photo: AFP

The 36-year-old named as Rubén Pérez Ayala, who was ordained a priest last June, was one of the 11 people who were injured during Wednesday's blast in the La Latina district.    

He died in hospital in the early hours of Thursday, the Madrid archdiocese said in a statement.

The building belonging to the Church of the Virgin de la Paloma and San Pedro el Real located next-door, was completely destroyed in the blast.    

Also killed in the blast was an electrician who was working on the building's boiler on the fifth floor. He was named as father of four David Santos Muñoz, 35, a parishioner who offered to help out at the church property which was used as accomodation for priests as well as meeting rooms and Caritas, the church charity that helps the poor.

 

The other two mortal victims were two men who later identified as a carpenter working nearby who was killed as he walked in the street below just as the blast occured and a Bulgarian national who was in the building visiting the church charity.

Javier Gandía Sepulveda, a 45-year old carpenter and father of two from La Puebla de Almoradiel, a small town inToledo province.

Stefko Ivanov, 46, who is thought to have been visitng Caritas, the Catholic Church charity which operated at 98 Calle de Toledo he had been living in Spain for 15 years and was a resident of Fuenlabrada.

Neighbours reported a strong smell of gas in the minutes before the blast.

Despite the force of the explosion, no one was hurt in the elderly care home next door, nor in an adjacent school where tonnes of debris fell into the playground while the children were in class.

At least 15 cars were destroyed in the area.

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