The Pentagon said Wednesday that US forces killed 13 fighters of the al-Shabaab militant group in an airstrike in Somalia.
The strike took place on August 14 near Teedaan in the central-southern part of the country while Shabaab fighters were attacking Somali National Army forces, the Pentagon’s Africa Command said in a statement.
“US forces are authorized to conduct strikes in defense of designated partner forces,” the statement said.
It said that an initial assessment of the strike showed that no civilians were injured or killed.
Last week US forces killed four Shabaab members in a strike in the same region.
Al-Shabaab, which the United States labels a terrorist group, has led an insurrection against Somalia’s federal government for 15 years.
The group controls swathes of the countryside and frequently strikes civilian and military targets.
In May, President Joe Biden ordered the re-establishment of a US troop presence in Somalia to help local authorities combat Al-Shabaab, reversing a decision by his predecessor Donald Trump to withdraw most US forces.
Al-Shabaab Islamists on Wednesday carried out attacks on two Somali military bases, using a suicide vehicle bombing and dozens of heavily armed militants, a military official said.
African Union troops stepped in to help repel the second, larger attack after a suicide bomber drove a vehicle packed with explosives onto a bridge leading to the Qoryoley army base some 95 kilometres (59 miles) west of Mogadishu and detonated it.
Earlier they had attacked the Ceel-Salini military base some 30 kilometres away.
“The terrorists carried out an … attack on the military bases at Qoryoley and Ceel-salini but our brave boys repelled them, they (Shabaab) have suffered heavy casualties this morning and the army is in full control in both areas now,” said Mohamed Adan, a Somali military commander in a nearby town.
“They have destroyed part of the bridge across the entrance to Qoryoley where the Somali military base is located using a vehicle loaded with explosives.”
He said the AU peacekeeping force AMISOM had helped fight the Al-Qaeda linked militants.
It was not yet known how many casualties there were.
Witnesses said dozens of heavily armed Shabaab militants entered Qoryoley town and addressed a gathering of residents before retreating.
“The Shabaab fighters entered the town and one of their commanders spoke with a gathering before they made their way out of the town, the situation is quiet now and the Somali forces backed by AMISOM soldiers are patrolling the streets,” Ali Moalim, a resident in Qoryoley said by phone.
Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement, saying they had “captured a sizeable amount of military supplies”.
The group has fought for over a decade to topple the internationally-backed Somali government, and carries out regular attacks against civilian and government targets, despite losing much of the territory they once controlled.
At least 10 people have been killed in an overnight battle in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu that began with a car bombing by the Al-Shabaab jihadist group, security officers said midday Friday, as sporadic shooting continued.
One Shabaab fighter blew himself up in the car bomb late on Thursday, a huge blast that ripped the front off a major hotel and sparked a fireball blaze igniting several cars on the busy street.
Other fighters from the Al-Qaeda-linked group stormed inside a building housing a restaurant, where they were ringed by police.
Fighting continues, with Shabaab gunmen boasting of thwarting attempts to storm their positions, more than 16 hours after the attack began.
“More than 10 people have been killed,” said Abdirahman Ali, a national security officer.
Fifteen people have died in an Islamist attack on an upmarket hotel complex in Nairobi, Kenyan police sources said Wednesday, as fresh explosions and gunfire rang out in the siege which stretched into its second day.
Security forces worked throughout the night to secure the DusitD2 compound, which includes a 101-room hotel, spa, restaurant and office buildings, after an attack claimed by Al-Shabaab Islamists on Tuesday afternoon.
At least one suicide bomber blew himself up at the hotel while gunmen sprayed fire before engaging security forces and holing themselves up at the premises as civilians fled or barricaded themselves in their offices awaiting rescue.
“We have 15 people dead as of now and that includes foreigners,” a police source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Among the dead was an American citizen, a State Department official said.
A second police source confirmed the toll but warned “there are areas not yet accessed but that’s what we know so far.”
After 12 hours trapped inside the complex, a group of dozens of people was freed at 3:30am (1230GMT), according to an AFP journalist at the scene, followed by fresh gunfire and a detonation.
A suicide bomber from Somalia’s Shabaab insurgents killed 18 police officers and wounded 15 others on Thursday when he blew himself up inside the country’s main police academy, the force’s chief said.
Witnesses said the police were gathered in a square ahead of their early morning parade when the bomber attacked in the capital Mogadishu.
The assault is the latest in a decade-old battle by the jihadists to overthrow Somalia’s internationally-backed government.
“Eighteen members from the police were killed, and 15 others were wounded, after a suicide bomber blew himself inside the academy,” acting police chief General Muktar Hussein Afrah told reporters.
The attacker disguised himself in a police uniform to access the camp, Afrah said.
“Some of the police were already in lines, and others were gathering, when the man in police uniform entered and blew himself up,” said bystander Hussein Ali, describing the carnage.
Medics and ambulance teams rushed to take the wounded to hospital and collect the corpses.
Officers said the toll could have been far worse had the attacker detonated his bomb in the centre of the crowd.
“The bomber could have inflicted more casualties if he could have managed to reach the midpoint where most people were,” police officer Ibrahim Mohamed said.
Later Thursday, police attended the funerals of some of their colleagues killed in the attack.
The Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shabaab claimed responsibility and put the toll at 27 dead.
“It was martyrdom operation, in which the mujahedeen targeted the police academy camp,” a statement posted on a pro-Shabaab website read.
The Shabaab lost its foothold in Mogadishu in 2011 but has continued its fight, launching regular attacks on military, government and civilian targets in the capital and elsewhere.
In October, a huge truck bombing blamed on the Shabaab killed as many as 512 people, levelling buildings in the capital’s busy Kilometre 5 neighbourhood.
Since then the United States has increased the frequency of air strikes targeting jihadist leaders.
On November 13, the Pentagon said US forces had killed more than 40 Shabaab and Islamic State fighters over four days.
An operation against a Shabaab camp on November 21 killed more than 100 fighters, according to the US Africa Command.
The increase in US raids comes as AMISOM, the AU’s mission in Somalia, prepares to withdraw 1,000 troops from its 22,000-strong force, as part of plans to pull out all soldiers by December 2020.
Washington is worried the reduction will hamper efforts against jihadists.
A UN report last month warned that an Islamic State faction in the north of the country had grown significantly over the past year, carrying out attacks in the Puntland region and receiving some funding from Syria and Iraq.