Qatar Emir sends aid plane to Somalia after bombing
Qatar's emir has sent a plane carrying medical aid and doctors to Somalia to help the country cope with the crushing aftermath of its worst ever bombing.
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani made the move on Tuesday, ordering a military plane to depart to Mogadishu's international airport, the official QNA news agency reported.
At least 276 people were killed and 300 injured on Saturday when a truck packed with explosives blew up in a busy commercial district, according to the government, however medical sources suggest the death toll could be over 300.
"The aids are accompanied by Qatar International Search and Rescue Group and a comprehensive medical team," QNA said.
"The medical team with the latest medical equipment will participate in the treatment of the wounded and evacuate the wounded through an air bridge to receive treatment outside of Somalia," it added.
Planes from the United States, Kenya and Turkey have also arrived in Mogadishu to help in the relief efforts.
The disaster has quickly overwhelmed the fragile health system of a country which has experienced nearly three decades of civil war and anarchy and is heavily dependent on foreign aid.
There has been no immediate claim of responsibility, but al-Shabaab, a militant group aligned with al-Qaeda, carries out regular suicide bombings in Mogadishu in its bid to overthrow Somalia's internationally-backed government.
Qatar has strongly condemned the attack.
On Sunday, Sheikh Tamim sent a cable of condolences to Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, wishing a speedy recovery for the people injured in the blast.
The devastating attack is a blow to Somalia's fledgling government, coming eight months after Mohamed was elected to great fanfare in a limited voting process that was nevertheless seen as the most democratic yet in the notorious failed state.
He came into office declaring war on al-Shabaab, which has carried out regular attacks on Mogadishu since African Union and Somali troops drove them out of the capital in 2011.