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Turkey Evacuates Somali Blast Victims

Residents at the scene of a suicide attack in Mogadishu, Oct. 4, 2011.

Residents at the scene of a suicide attack in Mogadishu, Oct. 4, 2011.

The Turkish government says it has evacuated 36 Somalis wounded in this week's deadly suicide attack in Mogadishu.

Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal said Ankara expects to transfer as many patients as possible from the Somali capital to hospitals in his country.

Al-Shabab militants have claimed responsibility for the education ministry bombing Tuesday that killed at least 72 people. Many of them were students waiting to learn if they had passed exams to qualify for scholarships in Turkey.

Unal condemned the attack, saying it will not stop Turkey from helping the Somali people.

During a visit to famine-hit Somalia in August, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised that Turkey would provide humanitarian relief and help build hospitals, schools and infrastructure.

Somalia has endured 20 years of conflict and lawlessness since the fall of its last stable government.

Al-Shabab said Tuesday's attack was aimed at the current transitional government and pro-government African Union peacekeepers.

The Somali government said the attack shows the terror threat has not receded.

The insurgents want to overthrow the government and impose a strict form of Islamic law across Somalia.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.