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Ten al-Shabaab militants killed after Somalia attack, says US military

Published: Updated:

The US military said on Monday that US and partnered forces had killed 10 militants and destroyed a vehicle after Somali insurgents mounted an ambitious attack on a base where US special forces train Somali commandos.

“In response to this attack and in self-defense, US Africa Command conducted two airstrikes and used small arms fire targeting al-Shabaab terrorists,” a US military statement said.

“It is assessed US and partner forces killed 10 terrorists and destroyed one vehicle involved in the attack,” the statement said.

The military added that no US or partner forces were injured in the al-Shabaab attack.

Officials said, the extremist group had launched two attacks on US and European military targets, officials said.

In the first attack, an estimated 25 fighters of the al-Shabab were killed when they attempted to storm the Belidogle military airstrip which hosts Somali and US forces, said a Somali intelligence officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The attack started with suicide bombings at the gate and around the airstrip and were followed by heavy gunfire across the air base in the Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia, said Gen. Ahmed Yusuf, a senior Somali military officer based in Lower Shabelle region.

Al-Shabab, which is allied to al-Qaeida, have claimed the responsibility for the attack.

The US military uses the Belidogle airstrip base to launch drones that attack al-Shabab targets and to train Somali troops.

“This attack, though ineffective, demonstrates the direct threat al-Shabaab poses to Americans, our allies, and interests in the region,” said Maj. Gen. William Gayler, US Africa Command director of operations, in a statement released later Monday.

The second attack was by a suicide car bomber targeting Italian peacekeepers in Mogadishu. The explosion missed a convoy of the European Union peacekeepers but injured Somali civilians who were nearby, according to reports.