U.S. strike in So­ma­lia kills 52 ex­trem­ists

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Second Front - By CARA ANNA

JO­HAN­NES­BURG, South Africa (AP) — The U.S. mil­i­tary on Satur­day said it had car­ried out its dead­li­est airstrike in So­ma­lia in months, killing 52 al-shabab ex­trem­ists af­ter a “large group” mounted an at­tack on So­mali forces.

The U.S. Africa Com­mand said the airstrike oc­curred near Jilib in Mid­dle Juba re­gion. There were no re­ports of Amer­i­cans killed or wounded.

The U.S. state­ment did not say if any So­mali forces were killed or wounded by the al-qaidalinke­d ex­trem­ists. Al­shabab via its Sha­hada news agency as­serted that its at­tack on two So­mali army bases killed at least 41 sol­diers. It de­scribed the lo­ca­tion as the Bar San­juni area near the port city of Kis­mayo.

A So­mali in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer said al-shabab had been amass­ing fight­ers for more than a week to launch a ma­jor at­tack against So­mali and Kenyan forces in or­der to dis­rupt a planned of­fen­sive against the ex­trem­ists. The of­fi­cer said some 400 ex­trem­ists, in­clud­ing for­eign ones, had been pre­pared, in­clud­ing two sui­cide car bombers.

Al-shabab con­trols large parts of ru­ral south­ern and cen­tral So­ma­lia and con­tin­ues to carry out sui­cide bomb­ings and other at­tacks in the cap­i­tal, Mo­gadishu, and else­where.

The Is­lamic ex­trem­ist group claimed responsibi­lity for the deadly at­tack on a lux­ury ho­tel com­plex in the cap­i­tal of neigh­bor­ing Kenya Tues­day, the lat­est high-toll as­sault in re­tal­i­a­tion for Kenya send­ing troops to So­ma­lia to fight al-shabab.

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