UNDER FIRE

Congressman Attacked in Somalia

Is this pirate retaliation? Gunman today fired mortars at a plane carrying Rep. Donald Payne and his entourage as they departed the Somali capital. Although neither the New Jersey Democrat nor his fellow passengers were injured, the attack and last week’s hijacking of the Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates illustrate the “continuing lawlessness” in the country, The Washington Post reports. Somalia’s transitional government has a fragile hold on the region, which boasts a growing Islamist insurgency tied to Al Qaeda. Obama said after the attack on Payne and the rescue yesterday of Captain Richard Phillips that the U.S. would work with allies to stop piracy off the Horn of Africa.