In brief | Nation & World, 07-06-14


Terror group al-Shabab claims responsibility for car bomb attack that kills four people in Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Four people were killed when a car laden with explosives blew up near the parliamentary building in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, a police official said Saturday.

The Somali terror group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the bombing. Capt. Mohammed Hussein said the car exploded at a checkpoint where it had been stopped by Somali troops. The dead were soldiers and refugees from an internal refugee camp near the check- point, Hussien said.

He said Somali troops had ordered the driver of the car out the vehicle for a search when he detonated the explosives.

Seven children from the camp were wounded in the attack. Al-Shabab did not say the target of the car bomber but al-Shabab has launched a campaign of attacks against Somali parliamentarians. Somali legislators were holding a meeting at the parliament at the time of the attack.

Al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab said it was responsible for the killing of a Somali lawmaker and his bodyguard in a drive-by shooting earlier this week.

Philadelphia fire kills 4 young children, destroys at least 8 row houses, displaces 42 people

PHILADELPHIA — Fire raced through a row of two-story homes in southwest Philadelphia early Saturday, killing 4-year-old twin girls, a 4-year-old boy and a baby and engulfing at least 10 houses, officials said. A mother and three of her children escaped through a second-floor window.

The blaze began shortly before 3 a.m. and was brought under control in about an hour, fire officials said. At least eight row homes were gutted, leaving behind only charred frames. The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but witnesses said it may have begun on a couch on a porch.

The twins’ mother, 41-year-old Dewen Bowah, told police she was in the home with seven children and managed to get three of her other daughters out before jumping from second-floor window. But she couldn’t save the twins, Maria and Marialla Bowah, or 1-month-old Taj Jacque and 4-year-old Patrick Sanyeah. The boys’ mother wasn’t in the home at the time.

“We lost four precious lives,” Mayor Michael Nutter said at an afternoon news conference. “Four little innocent children, in a horrific tragedy. I can only pray that their pain was not long and they did not truly feel and experience the intensity of this fire and flames.”

Bowah and her three surviving daughters were taken to the hospital, but the extent of their injuries was not known.

NATO signals it’s taking no new members for the present, but says its door ‘remains open’

BRUSSELS — Faced with a newly aggressive Russia, NATO has been mulling how to react, but it is ruling out one option: rapid expansion.

Four would-be members, including the former Soviet republic of Georgia, have been informed that admission to NATO isn’t in the cards anytime soon. For some, that means dashed hopes. Macedonia’s foreign minister told The Associated Press in a statement it was a “step backward.”

The bottom line: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, celebrating important anniversaries this year of a dozen nations joining its ranks, will welcome no new members when President Barack Obama and other leaders convene for a summit in Wales in early September.

Analysts say that NATO members are worried about granting, or being perceived as granting, security guarantees that could quickly be tested by Russia. That’s particularly true of Georgia, which has been waiting since 2008 for the U.S.-led military alliance to make good on its promise of admission.

Before taking over Crimea from Ukraine, Russia invaded and occupied two regions of Georgia nearly six years ago — and NATO is reluctant to take any action that might provoke a riposte from Moscow.

By wire sources