US bombs Somali Islamists
Date: Wednesday, January 10 2007
US Somali air strikes 'kill many'
The US has carried out at least two air strikes in southern Somalia targeting Islamist fighters, who the US believes include members of an al-Qaeda cell.
The militias were reported to have been tracked by aerial reconnaissance and then attacked by a US gunship launched from a US military base in Djibouti.
The US says Somali Islamists sheltered al-Qaeda operatives linked to the 1998 US embassy bombings in East Africa.
The Somali transitional government says many people were killed in the raid.
The air strikes are taking place just a few days after the Union of Islamic Courts, which had taken control of much of central and southern Somalia during the past six months, was routed by soldiers from Ethiopia and Somalia's transitional government.
The US accuses the Islamists of having links to al-Qaeda - charges they deny.
A Pentagon spokesman, Bryan Whitman, confirmed that the US struck southern Somalia on Sunday, and said the target was al-Qaeda leadership believed to be in the area.
Witnesses told the BBC Somali service that areas near the town of Afmadow were being bombed on Tuesday.
They report hearing heavy firing in a number of areas and have seen military helicopters flying overhead.
On Monday, the nearby village of Hayo was bombed.
"The US has a right to bombard terrorist suspects who attacked its embassies in Kenya and Tanzania" Somali interim president Abdullahi Yusuf
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/09 16:25:35 GMT
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