Wed, Mar 09, 2016 - Page 1 News List

At least 150 al-Shabaab fighters killed in Somalia: US

AFP, WASHINGTON

A migrant, who is waiting to cross the Greek-Macedonian border, waves German flag and shouts slogans during a protest at a makeshift camp near the village of Idomeni, Greece, on Monday.

Photo: Reuters

A US airstrike on a training camp of al-Shabaab in Somalia killed more than 150 fighters planning an imminent attack on forces from the US and its regional allies, the Pentagon said on Monday.

Al-Shabaab yesterday confirmed that the US had bombed an area it controlled, but said the US casualty figure was an exaggeration.

Somalia’s intelligence service cooperated with the US in airstrikes that killed more than 150 al-Shabaab members on Saturday, a Somalian intelligence official said yesterday. He said Somalian officials helped the US to pinpoint the location of the militants’ training base, but did not give details.

While the US military regularly conducts operations targeting the militants in Somalia, Saturday’s raid had a greater toll than all previous such US strikes combined.

The raids, which began in 2003, had killed between 113 and 136 militants prior to the latest operation, according to the New America foundation.

Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said the strike on Camp Raso killed fighters as they were completing “training for a large-scale attack.”

Warplanes and unmanned drones were used in the strike, about 195km north of Mogadishu.

“We know they were going to be departing the camp and they posed an imminent threat to US and [African Union] forces,” Davis said, adding that as many as 200 fighters had been using the camp.

The US military has a small and secretive presence in Somalia, with a defense official estimating the current number of US troops in the country on an advise-and-assist mission at 150.

After a period of relative calm in the Somalian capital, al-Shabaab have ramped up attacks in recent months.

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